Archive for October, 2012

[Legislative Update October 26, 2012 Edition]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on October 28, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

Here’s a breakdown of the last Boca House of Representatives meeting. This legislative update is brought to you by UP reporter Dylan Bouscher.

Last Friday the Boca House approved its first bill of the semester and voted on all other legislation.

LEGISLATION

BRHR-12-01: “Cell Phone Reception” was tabled indefinitely. This resolution will not be brought up for another vote, but Boca House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy suggested that another version supporting improved reception across the Boca campus — not just the dorms — could be written soon. Check the Oct. 12 legislative recap to find out more about this resolution.

“People wanted it spread to the entire campus,” Broudy said. “People thought we were neglecting commuter students.”

BRHB-12-01: “Student Juried Art Exhibition” was approved after being amended. The bill allocates $2,235 to the annual Juried Student Exhibition next spring, which the Boca House has funded every year since the 2008-2009 academic year. It was written by student Jeanie Giebel and sponsored by Broudy.

BRHR-12-02: “Walk With Ease” was approved in a unanimous vote. The resolution, written by Representative Chad Coarsey suggested the crosswalks on campus be inspected bi-monthly.

“It’s very important that we advocate for admin to fix the broken crosswalks,” Campus Budget Chair Jonathan Mustain said.

BRHB-12-02: “Extended Exam Week Library Hours” also passed in a unanimous vote. The bill was written and sponsored by Broudy, and transferred $2,521 to the S.E. Wimberly Library account to keep the library open two hours longer than usual (from midnight to 2:00 a.m.) during final exam week.

Although FAU paid to keep the library open later during exam week last year, the university could not afford the extended hours again this year after it absorbed a $24.7 million budget cut.

The library’s extended hours will take effect Nov. 26 and end Dec. 4.

Stay tuned to Owl Watch.

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Legislative Update [October 19, 2012 Edition]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on October 24, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

Here’s a breakdown of the last Boca House of Representatives meeting. This recap is brought to you by UP reporter Kenson Delva.

Last Friday, Oct. 19, the House had several guests speak about crosswalk safety and the ongoing concerns with cellphone reception. Boca House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy also implemented alphabetical seating, SG President Robert Huffman discussed the new parking garage plan and Governor Ella Tepper made more appointments.

Christine Whirlow, president of the Owls Supporting Diversity club, spoke about the dangers faced by students with disabilities at the crosswalks on the Boca campus.

“I hope I can help students reach what they deserve on campus,” said Whirlow. “With braille menus and crosswalks and make it safer for everyone not just for disability students, but anybody.”

And Ann Marie Bedard, a 24-year old graduate social work student shared a personal experience. “When I cross the crosswalks the streets around here, I don’t really feel safe,” said Bedard. “Anytime I feel like we’re gonna get hit and I don’t want to depend on others.”

Then Jason Ball, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, also spoke to the Boca House about poor cell phone reception in the residence halls.

“FAU cannot spend money to make the carriers join. They own the frequency, its licensed frequency. They have to decide if they will participate.” According to Ball FAU has know about this problem for 2 years.

Ball mentioned that FAU is the second school in Florida to act on the problems in the residence halls behind UF and the first university to have a solution to fix it. Ball said about UF: “[the] University of Florida landed the first contract with AT&T since the President of AT&T Florida sits on the Board of Trustees of University of Florida.”

Afterward Huffman updated the House on the last Board of Trustees meeting. The SG President is a member of the university’s BOT — FAU’s 13 highest ranking officials, which approved plans for a new parking garage at their last meeting.

“This is really important for us as one of the biggest problems that I hear and that I’m sure that a lot of you guys hear as well,” said Huffman. “Parking is not easiest for our students. This parking garage will allow more parking spots on our campus.”

Huffman also appointed Elizabeth Shultz to be SG’s marketing director.

Tepper appointed Anthony Santos to be the Director of the new Interfaith Programming. “This person is really laying the foundation for this program. In helping to build it up to hopefully what will become the top leading programming,” said Tepper.

Interfaith Programming (IP) will be responsible for “creating and enriching spiritual unity … and presenting and emphasize spiritual achievements on the Boca Raton Campus,” according to the Boca Executive programs page on SG’s website.

“I feel like I would be the best person for this position [because] one thing about me is that I know how to be a pioneer since I come from a small high school and I know what is to start up programs,” said Anthony Santos.

Santos was asked by Representative Chad Coarsey on how he will work with other religions. “Although I may not follow other beliefs, I have to be tolerant of them and I have to work together with them,” said Santos.

Governor’s Appointments:

Student Union Advisory Board
Rosham Rashtchy
Shirrana Rosier

Campus Recreation Advisory Board
Shareen Rosier

Before the House discussed its bills on cell phone reception and crosswalks, however, Broudy implemented alphabetical seating arrangements. The Speaker made her decision on the basis that the U.S. Congress and the Florida State house sit alphabetically.

“We are here to advocate for students to go over our agenda. There is a lot of conversation that’s not about that and it’s distracting to other members of the House,” said Broudy. “Its rude for people that come to sit here and have to listen to other people talking about things that aren’t business. I really have a zero tolerance policy for that.”

Boca House Secretary Ciara Clarke couldn’t be more pleased with the Speaker’s decision.

“I love it, I’m the secretary it’s much easier for me,” said Clarke.

Clarke’s job in the Boca House is to take attendance of all members and record how members vote on bills.

Representative Jonathan Mustain, however, had a different view new seating arrangement.

“I don’t agree with the Speaker’s decision to make us sit alphabetical order, nor does she have the authority to make us sit alphabetical order. It is up to the House to make that decision.”

The Speaker of the House does have that authority though under Statute 475.100.l which read as follows:

[The Speaker of the House] may have additional duties and powers as delineated in the individual Chapter of the Student Government Statutes of his/her campus as long as
they are not contradictory to this chapter.

LEGISLATION:

BRHR-12-01: “Cell Phone Reception” was sent to committee for the second week in a row. See last week’s post for more information about this resolution and its author, Parliamentarian Ian Dunne.

BRHB-12-01: “Student Juried Art Exhibition” was sent to committee for the second week in a row. This bill was written by Jeanie Giebel, and allocates $2,235 from the House contingency account for the annual 2012 Juried Student Exhibition.

BRHR-12-02: “Walk With Ease”, a resolution suggesting the university commit bi-monthly inspections of all pedestrians crosswalks in order to assure proper mechanical functionality. Representative Chad Coarsey authored this resolution.

If passed the resolution will be sent to FAU’s Board of Trustees, President Mary Jane Saunders, the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the Florida state university system, and Governor Rick Scott.

“We can get everyone on the same page and make sure all these crosswalks are maintained,” said Coarsey. “Someone will be held accountable.”

BRHB- 12-02 “Extended Exam Week Library Hours”: That the Boca House of Representatives transfers $2,521 to the S.E. Wimberly Library, so that they can have extended hours during exam week. Boca House Speaker Broudy authored this bill

“This extends library hours during exam week. I’m sure that it effects every single person in this room and I know it effects the entire student body to have extra hours open on exam night,” said Broudy.

These bills were sent to committee for a vote next week.

Stay tuned to OwlWatch.

Legislative Update [October 12, 2012 Edition]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on October 15, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

Here’s a breakdown of the last Boca House of Representatives meeting. This recap is brought to you by UP reporter Kenson Delva.

After the SG fall elections Sept. 11 – 13, the Boca House of Representatives expanded to 48 members. Last Friday, Oct. 12, the House appointed new leadership and sent the bills to committee for a vote next week. SG President Robert Huffman and Boca Governor Ella Tepper discussed their upcoming projects and initiatives . And the Oath of Office, a swearing in of newly elected House members, was given to members who were not at the last meeting.

The House also elected Representative Langston Wimberly to be a new Speaker Pro-Tempore by a vote of 20-10. “I am the best candidate because I have the skills and experience necessary to complete the duties required,” said Wimberly.

Speaker’s Appointments:

– Parliamentarian: Ian Dunne

– Secretary: Ciara Clarke

– Rules and Policies Chair: Alexandra Scully

– Ways and Means Chair: Rebecca Sosa

– Campus Action Chair: Kalia Fleming

– Campus Budget Chair: Jonathan Mustain

Then Huffman updated the House about the ongoing SG website overhaul. “I feel like this is really going to help our informational side of SG to get our students more informed about the projects we’re working on,” Huffman wrote in an email. “There is no cost for this project because we are working in house with our Creative Services Dept. at FAU.”

Huffman also is teaming up with Athletics department and Mission Green club to add more recycling bins to the Rat’s Mouth, the stadium’s tailgating section, during games. “The green initiative will cost about $2,800, but Athletics is working to cut the price down with the help of our community sponsors,” Huffman wrote. “The green initiative should be on the next senate agenda.”

Other News

Tepper and Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena met with Night Owls, FAU’s escort program, to discuss concerns students have been complaining about.

“We hopefully addressed a lot of those concerns and a lot of those issues,” said Tepper. “You should look around and see Night Owls slowly, but surely improving.”

Tepper also made some appointments to the Student Union Advisory Board and Campus Recreation Advisory Board.

Governor’s Appointments:

Student Union Advisory Board
Ryan Quinn
Vanessa Torres
Kenntavious Peterkin

Campus Recreation Advisory Board
Daisy Boyd
Gabe Sheffield
Ava Kwansnieski
Evan Camejo

LEGISLATION:

BRHR- 12-01: “Cell Phone Reception” suggests making cell phone reception in IVA, HPT, GPT, and IRT stronger by installing Distributed Antenna Systems in the various residence halls on campus.

“I thought I should start writing a resolution and make our voices heard about the cell phone reception,” said Dunne.

BRHB-12-01: “Student Juried Art Exhibition” allocates $2,235 from the House Contingency account to the account for the 2012 annual Juried Student Exhibition.

“They’re asking for $2,235 for the visiting artist/juror fee, exhibition materials such as paint, hardware, vinyl lettering, and light bulbs, printing posters and documentary brochures, and for the reception,” Boca House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy wrote in an email.

The House did not vote on the bill or resolution Friday. Instead, they were both tabled to committees.  “They will be discussed in the committees before the House Meeting next Friday, the 19th, and will hopefully be voted on at that point if the House decides to,” Broudy wrote in an email.

Stay tuned to OwlWatch.

[Summer Slowdown, Summer Showdown Part 3]

Posted in Constitution, CRC, elections, photo, president with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

Chances are you’re part of the 97 percent who didn’t vote in this fall’s Student Government elections.

And even though FAU’s enrollment is up to an all-time high of 30,542, voter turnout in this year’s election dropped from last year’s 4.38 percent to 3.32 this year.

This year, the elections started at midnight, Sept. 11, and ended the same time Sept. 13. The 3.32 percent who did vote in the election went online and voted on myfau.fau.edu. Others went to one of four old-fashioned voting stations on campus, which had laptops for students to cast their ballot.

But the ballot for this year’s SG elections had more mistakes on it than usual, mistakes made by the SG leaders and administrators who managed (or mismanaged) the elections.

Mike Brown, SG’s election board chair, is annually paid $8,100 of student money — through the Activities and Services fee all FAU students pay in their tuition — to catch these mistakes, so even the 97 percent who didn’t vote are paying for his blunders.

“You come into a new position, you make these mistakes, but you don’t make them again,” Brown said. “In the spring election, I will be reviewing thoroughly.”

He was hired in July by SG President Robert Huffman, who interviewed him for the position after Brown spent two years moving up the ladder in SG. Brown started out in the Boca House of Representatives before winning a seat in the university-wide senate. Then he volunteered to be a part of former SG President Ayden Maher’s staff before Maher hired him to be his executive assistant.

“I found it to be very rewarding, it’s good management experience,” Brown said.

And in the time Brown’s been at FAU, he’s voted in seven SG elections himself. When the UP interviewed Brown and pointed out miscalculations in the official results, Brown took them back to double check.

“Let me keep this and bring this up with [Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena] and make sure these are the exact certified results,” Brown said.

But miscalculating who won more votes over other candidates is only where the errors began.

SG Assistant Director Ryan Frierson. Photo by Dylan Bouscher

When SG amended its constitution over the summer, they held meetings and voted to approve their proposed amendments, such as raising the minimum GPA requirement for SG leaders. Then the amendments were sent to Brown so the student body could vote for them in the fall elections, yet not every amendment made it on the ballot.

“There was one left off, that’s correct,” Ryan Frierson, SG’s assistant director, said. “What happened was one amendment was duplicated.”

“I didn’t see any mistakes or missed amendments,” Brown said.

Frierson created the ballot for the election, according to Brown and other leaders in SG. The amendment left off changed Article VII of the constitution, the section explaining how constitutional amendments are approved, according to Patricio Coicou.

“I inputed some of the information to the eBallot, the rest was done by [the Office of Information Technology],” Frierson said.

Meanwhile eBallot — the online voting site SG used to manage the election — crashed both days of the election.

“It happened in the morning and around the same time the next day,” Brown said.

But Frierson knew eBallot could crash before the elections started.

“The Friday before the election, eBallot stopped working,” Frierson said. “It was an internal error late on a Friday, almost 6 p.m. I came back Monday and wasn’t able to do anything.”

More than 600 organizations worldwide use eBallot, according to its website.

“eBallot is the #1 online platform to build and execute secure, high integrity votes, ballots, elections, surveys and contest voting,” the eBallot website reads.

Students weren’t able to vote during the hour eBallot was offline in a 48 hour election.

Coicou chaired the group of students amending SG’s constitution.

“I was confused by [the ballot],” Coicou said. “So if I was confused by it, imagine somebody else.”

Coicou was the first to point out the ballot didn’t include every amendment.

“When I didn’t see it on there I was very upset,” Coicou said. “I think some things could have been done better.”

After Coicou noticed the missing amendment, he tried to file a petition with the Student Court, but SG Chief Justice Nicholas Scalice rejected it for what he called a “lack of sufficient evidence.”

The lack of evidence was Coicou not having the final amendments to compare to the ballot. Later Frierson admitted to the UP, however, an amendment was missing.

Coicou also pointed out possible reasons for voter turnout being lower this year than past elections.

“This election wasn’t advertised, promoted, whatever you want to call it, as well as previous years,” Coicou said.

Other leaders in SG agree with Coicou. Boca House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy is one of them.

“I don’t want to bash anybody for not doing something,” Broudy said. “But I felt like it could have been marketed better, advertised better.”

Samuel Pluviose, a junior chemistry major, knew about the elections, but not about the candidates. “I didn’t think they did their job well this year.”

Robert Huffman, however, disagrees.

“I think [Mike Brown]’s done a good job compared to years past. It’s gotten better,” Huffman said. “I think voter turnout really depends on who’s running.”

SG Elections Board Chair Mike Brown. Photo by Dylan Bouscher.

Now Brown expects the spring elections for SG president and vice president to go better than this fall’s elections.

“In the upcoming election, we will definitely correct any mistakes we made on our part,” Brown said. “Do more to raise awareness and hopefully increase voter turnout.”

Brown said he will ask more people to review the results in the spring election than he did this fall.

“I will have [Ryan Frierson] reviewing the ballot so we know it’s correct,” Brown said.

Despite the mistakes made by Brown and Frierson, Patricio Coicou doesn’t take it personally.

“Me and Mike Brown are friends, but business is business,” Coicou said. “When it comes down to it, some of us fucked up, from administrators to the elections board chair, we’re all to blame.”

Kenson Delva contributed to the reporting of this article. This article originally ran in the Oct. 9 edition of the University Press.

Now that SG’s constitutional amendments have been voted on by the student body, the final step to making them official is having FAU’s Board of Trustees vote on them. The next Board meeting is Nov. 15.

Stay tuned to OwlWatch.