Archive for the president Category

[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.

 

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Summer Slowdown, Summer Showdown [Part 1]

Posted in Broward, Constitution, CRC, Legislation, president, Rules, summer 2012, Treasure Coast with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

This legislative recap is brought to you by UP reporter Dylan Bouscher.

This summer FAU’s student government is breaking rules to fix rules — to a degree.

In order to change the SG constitution, a group of at least twenty people are appointed to meet and make amendments. The group is appointed by leaders in SG — anyone from student body president Robert Huffman, to any of the campus Governors, and even SG Director Heather Bishara.

That group is called the “Constitution Revision Commission,” (CRC) and it’s only supposed to meet “during January of 2010, and each fifth year thereafter,” according to the SG Constitution.

And although the CRC met in 2010 and the student body approved its amendments, they were never sent to the Board of Trustees (BOT) — FAU’s thirteen highest-ranking officials — for ratification. Changes to the constitution must be ratified by the BOT in order to become official.

Several in SG have their own suspicions as to why the Board never approved them. One of them even went on the record.

According to Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas, the changes made during the 2010 CRC were never approved by the BOT because Charles Brown, the Senior Vice President of Student Affairs — and highest-ranking administrator in Student Government — did not agree with them.

Bastidas said Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena (Brown’s representative at Boca House meetings) had little to say about why the BOT never received the amendments:

Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena. Photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations.

“There were some disagreements about the amendments made,” he told Bastidas.

So when SG grew tired of waiting for change, they started making it on their own. Huffman went against the constitution, which only allows a CRC meeting once every five years, and called one this summer anyway.

The Boca House of Representatives, however, won’t even wait for the CRC to make amendments. In June, the House passed a bill revising statutes to make its own attendance policies stricter. Statutes are the rules that apply to the different parts and processes of SG. (See legislation below.)

One of the bill’s authors and the new House Speaker Pro Tempore, Rep. Jaclyn Broudy spoke about it at the meeting where it passed.

“A lot of this is the same people missing every time with the same excuses,” she said.

Then the House passed a bill fixing a contradiction between the constitution and the statutes this week.

One gives the governor seven days to sign a bill, and the other gives a president only five days. Since the governor must sign a bill before the president, it’s impossible for the president to sign it in time and go to Dr. Brown.

So the House passed a bill changing the constitution to give the SG President more time to sign a bill after the campus governor signs it. Simple solution, right? Wrong.

For this bill to change anything in the constitution, it has to be passed by the Jupiter and Broward House of Representatives and the University-wide Senate. Then it’ll be sent to the three campus governors, Huffman, and Dr. Brown for their signatures. Then the constitution can be amended.

By passing this bill, the Boca House is skipping the CRC process and taking another route to amend the SG constitution.

By passing these bills the Boca House is also defying administration. Mena advised the House against changing the constitution on their own in late April. He read aloud the part of the constitution with the House’s powers and limits before explaining them to the House in his own words.

“This student body on its own cannot change those on the constitution and there is a process,” Mena said, adding  “I want to make sure that you can only speak on matters that will only affect the Boca Raton student body, but I’m not saying you can’t talk about other campuses.”

Mena is wrong. Any of the campus Houses can pass bills amending the constitution. In fact the Senate as well as any FAU student can propose amendments, according to the constitution itself.

Between the CRC summoning and the Boca House bills passing lately, SG can’t update its founding document fast enough.

Legislation

BRHB-12-14: “700 House Statutes Revision” was written by Jaclyn Broudy and Boris Bastidas. It passed the House on June 1 and revised the attendance policy for House members.

BRHB-12-15: “Last Minute Spending”  was written by Boris Bastidas. It passed the House on June 1 and allocated $12,120 to pay for FAU’s banners on Glades Road, t-shirts, a table cover, and scantrons.

BRHB-12-16: “Duties and Powers of the Student Body President — Round Two” was written by Jairo Montes, Jonathan Mustain. It passed the House on June 8 and amends the SG Constitution so the President has more time to sign a bill after the governor signs it.

BRHR-12-07: “New Study Building for the Boca Campus” was written by Clairemine Cyrise. It passed the House on June 8 and suggests the Board of Trustees consider building a new study hall on the Boca campus since two FAU campuses are set to close.

Stay tuned to Owl Watch for Part 2 when the CRC meets.

Legislative Update [Boca House of Representatives May 25, 2012 Edition]

Posted in appointments, Constitution, COSO, CRC, elections, governor, president, summer 2012, Uncategorized on May 26, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

This legislative recap is brought to you by UP reporter Dylan Bouscher.

Changing of the Guard

In less than two hours the Boca House appointed and elected 14 members of Student Government today.

With House Speaker Pro Tempore Eric Lupo having graduated in the spring, the Boca House elected Rep. Jaclyn Broudy to fill the vacant position in a (7 – 4) vote against Rep. Lexi Rosario.

Shortly afterward, the House appointed Rosario to the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC is a group of twenty people who amend SG’s main document. Three of those twenty are appointed by each of the campus Houses. Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas also appointed Rep. Clairemine Cyrise and himself to the CRC.

Meanwhile former Boca Governor Ryan Ebanks’ unsuccessful run for SG Vice President left his position vacated. The position was filled after former COSO Director Ella Tepper ran unopposed to become Governor. As one of her first acts, Tepper appointed the following people to the Governor’s Administrative Cabinet:

Chief of Staff: Vanessa Torres
Campus Treasurer: Kyle Kenny
COSO Director: Josh Scholl
Boca Senator: Isadora Isidore

The House approved Tepper’s appointments unanimously and voted in the following representatives during an in-house election: Michael Cepeda, Noor Fawzy, Elana Kashti, Adriel Loschalc, Richard Schwartz, and Edwin Toledo.

Student Body President Robert Huffman giving his first report to the Boca House of Representatives at a weekly meeting in their chambers on May 25. Photo credit: Michelle Friswell.

The six new representatives were sworn in after new Student Body President Robert Huffman gave his first Oath of Office. As new Representatives in the Boca House, they took their first votes today on vetoed and old business.

Legislation

Vetoed Business: BRHB-12-12 “Musical Production of Sweeney Todd” was vetoed by Ebanks in one of his final acts as Boca Governor. The House overturned his veto and sent it to Huffman for enactment or veto. To find out what this bill will do if it’s enacted, click here.

Old Business: BRHB-12-13 “Duties and Powers of the Student Body President” did not pass when the House voted on it. If passed the bill amends the SG Constitution to give the President five days to sign a bill after if it passes a campus House or the university wide student Senate.

The bill has already sounded administrative alarms. Terry Mena, the Associate Dean of Students spoke to the Boca House about it at the last meeting in spring.

“I want to make sure that you can only speak on matters that will only affect the Boca Raton student body, but I’m not saying you can’t talk about the other campuses,” Mena said.

Jonathan Mustain, the former Governor’s Executive Assistant is an author of the bill.

“It’ll be back next week,” he said. “If it can.”

Stay tuned to Owl Watch and find out if the Boca House votes again on the bill to change the SG Constitution at next week’s meeting.

Legislative Update [Boca House of Representatives April 20, 2012 Edition]

Posted in Constitution, Legislation, president on April 23, 2012 by dylanjbouscher

Last Friday the Boca House agreed to fund a production of Sweeney Todd this summer. This legislative update is brought to you by UP reporter Dylan Bouscher.

LEGISLATION

BRHB-12-12: “Musical Production of ‘Sweeney Todd’” passed. The bill allocates $8,000 for the production costs, and agrees to split any profit made between the Department of Theatre and Dance, and SG. It was written by theatre student Darrick Penny and sponsored by Rep. John Maher.

The musical is expected to premiere the weekend of July 26-29 with five performances. No additional dates have been confirmed.

BRHB-12-13: “Duties and Powers of the Student Body President” was automatically tabled until the next meeting. If passed the bill will amend the SG Constitution to give the SG president five academic days to sign a bill, after he receives it.

Currently the constitution gives the president five days to sign a bill after it’s passed.

This bill was written by the Ways and Means committee chair, Jairo Montes, Parliamentarian Patricio Coicou, and the Governor’s Executive Assistant Jonathan Mustain and sponsored by Montes and Coicou.

BRHB-12-14: “Removing Multicultural Programming 2011-2012 Riders” passed. The bill removes limits on MP accounts so leftover money can be put into the Activities and Programming account. The bill was written by MP Director Marie Dumas, Kristina Fritz, Carlton O’Neal, Hakeem Haye, Dorothy Daniel, and Mark Burgarelli, and sponsored by Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas.

Stay tuned to Owl Watch for more updates as SG spends your money.

Boca House of Representatives [March 30, 2012 Edition]

Posted in governor, Legislation, president on March 30, 2012 by regikaza

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

LEGISLATION

Vetoed Business

BRHR-12-03: “Stand Against the Green Fee” was vetoed by Boca Governor Ryan Ebanks and overturned by the House with a vote of 28-1. The bill was written by House Speaker Pro Tempore Eric Lupo and sponsored by 17 representatives. This bill shows the House is opposed to any attempt to add a Green fee to students’ tuition and fees.

The fee is supported by Mission Green and would be used to add solar panels and lower energy costs for FAU. It would have to be approved by the Board of Trustees and Florida Board of Governors before students start paying it.

SG President Ayden Maher told the House that the Board of Trustees has no plan to add a green fee.

Since Ebanks was absent from the meeting, the Governor’s Executive Assistant Jonathan Mustain explained why Ebanks vetoed the bill. “No extensive research was done on the green fee, there was no proof of the feasibility and what the fee was actually going to do,” Mustain said.

Mustain also gave Ebanks’ suggestions to poll the student body on the fee and to talk to Student Affairs, Facilities and Physical Plant.

Now that Ebanks’ veto has been overturned, the bill will go to Maher’s desk for approval or veto. Lupo told the UP the House could overturn Maher’s veto if that is his decision.

New Business

BRHB-12-04: “A Resolution Supporting the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act” was sent to committees after the House voted on it. If passed, this resolution will show SG’s support of a bill the U.S. Congress is considering. The bill was written by Executive Vice President of the Interfraternity Council Howard Rudnick and sponsored by Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas.

BRHR-12-05: “Preserving a Landmark” was also sent to committees when the House voted on it. If passed, the resolution will show the BHOR is opposed to the demolition of the Algonquin Residence Hall. This is part of the Master Plan for the Boca Campus, according to the resolution. The bill was written by Maher’s Executive Assistant Michael Brown and sponsored by Bastidas.

OTHER NEWS

Maher told the House the Boca Raton City Council would meet next week to vote to allow FAU banners to hang from 20 light poles on the north side of Glades Road.

Stay tuned for more info on the banners, green fee, and demolition of Algonquin.

Boca House of Representatives Legislative Update [March 23, 2012 Edition]

Posted in Broward, Constitution, COSO, governor, Legislation, president, quote, Rules, Treasure Coast on March 24, 2012 by regikaza

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

LEGISLATION

BRHB-12-04: “Florida Atlantic University 50th Anniversary Mascot Preservation” was tabled indefinitely. If passed, this bill would have given $15,000 to repair and display retro school mascots in the Student Union. It will not be brought up again.

BRHB-12-05: “Florida Caribbean Student Association Conference” did not pass after the House voted on it. The bill was written by Danielle Dingwall, Voshon Reid, and Boca Governor Ryan Ebanks. If passed, this bill would have allocated $4,550 for 90 members of FAU’s chapter to attend a convention of CSAs being hosted at FAU.

This is the first bill to fail in the BHOR this year, according to Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas.

BRHB-12-06: “New Printer for Student Government” passed after the House voted on it. This bill allocates $14,746 for a new printer in the SG office. The bill was written and sponsored by Bastidas.

BRHB-12-07: “Don’t Stress out, Be in Zen Mode” was passed by the House and written by Ebanks, and the Boca Governor’s Chief of Staff Rebecca Capata. House Reps. John Maher, and Joe Kruempel sponsored the bill, which will transfer $9,915.02 to the Governor’s Project account to pay for yoga mats and sunglasses for Stress Week.

Yes, FAU students pay an A&S fee in their tuition for SG to spend their money on yoga mats and sunglasses.

OTHER NEWS

The Boca House passed a “vote of no confidence” against SG President Ayden Maher. They voted on this one day after the Broward House of Representatives passed a vote of no confidence, and a week after the Jupiter House passed its own vote of no confidence against the President. Maher has broken policies in the SG Constitution and Statutes by not attending Broward House meetings for the last nine months, four consecutive Boca House meetings, and one Senate meeting, according to Bastidas.

Maher showed up late to the meeting to defend himself.  “I bust my ass for this university,” Maher said after justifying every absence and all other possible violations. Once Maher and other House reps left and the House voted on all legislation on the agenda, Campus Budget Chair Jason Wu made the motion for a vote of no confidence.While this vote holds no legislative weight, it could mean Maher is on his way to being impeached. However articles of impeachment have to be drafted by a member of the campus Houses or Senate. Then the articles must pass by a ⅔ majority in all the campus Houses (Boca, Broward, Jupiter, and Treasure Coast) and the University-wide Senate.

Since the Boca House and University-wide Senate both passed bills opposing A&S fee increases, SG Director Heather Bishara told the BHOR the committee which voted to recommend an increase would meet again on March 28 from 2-3 p.m. in the Majestic Palm Room.

Bishara also announced a follow-up meeting on April 4 from 2-3 p.m. to hold another vote on an increase recommendation. These meetings will be public, and all students are welcome to make suggestions about how A&S fee money should be spent if they start paying a higher fee.

This announcement was made after administrators in Student Affairs held a meeting with SG leaders and voted to recommend an A&S fee increase without telling anyone else.

Stay tuned to OwlWatch for more on Maher’s status and the public meetings to recommend A&S fee increases.

Boca House of Representatives Legislation and Update [March 16, 2012 Edition]

Posted in appointments, Legislation, president, Rules on March 22, 2012 by regikaza

Here’s a recap of last week’s Boca House of Representatives meeting. This update is brought to you by UP reporter, Ariana Corrao.

LEGISLATION

BRHB-12-04: “Florida Atlantic University 50th Anniversary Mascot Preservation” was tabled with no objections. The bill calls would preserve and display FAU’s previous mascots in hopes of promoting school spirit, especially for potential students checking out the school. President Ayden Maher mentioned that since the House is currently waiting on the company that will contract this project, the budget for the bill is currently not available.

BRHB-12-05: “Florida Caribbean Student Association Conference” passed with a vote of 19 to 6. The bill lets 90 students attend the Florida Caribbean Student Association (FCSA) annual conference at FAU. The conference will be held from March 23-25.

BRHR-12-03: “Stand Against the Green Fee” passed with a vote of 18 to 6. The bill says the House will not approve a Green Fee to be added to student tuition for 2013.

“With the applied tuition increase, I don’t think this is the right thing to do,” said House Rep. and author of the bill Eric Lupo, about the extra fee.

Rep. Chelsea Boydman said, “While bringing down energy costs from the school is important, I don’t think that we, the students, should have to pay for it.”

OTHER NEWS

A new $50 million dorm was approved at the recent Board of Trustees meeting. Because of the proposed state budget cuts, FAU will now annually owe the city of Jupiter two million dollars for multiple buildings on the MacArthur campus which are usually paid for by the state.

Maher also mentioned that although FAU has not announced how much it will increase tuition, the state recommended an eight percent increase. This allows FAU to increase tuition another seven percent. “I assume the university is going to go after the full 15% to make up for the budget cuts,” said Maher.

Boca House Speaker Boris Bastidas told the BHOR that the Jupiter House had met earlier that day and held a vote of no confidence which if passed, could mean Maher will be impeached. The majority of the student body voted no confidence.

“I have not read any drafts on impeachment, but I hear they are being worked on,” said Bastidas. “The decision to host the upcoming voter registration event on the Boca campus has many of the other campuses feeling belittled. I think the way he does things hurts our process.”

Bastidas mentioned the vote of no confidence and whispers of impeachment will not affect Maher as much as they will, “send a pretty strong message to the incoming person that we are not gonna take this crap from you,” according to Bastidas.

Also, seven new representatives were admitted to the House:
Neil Coffman
Lucas Crostarosa
Ashley Davis
Tyler Dowtre
Daniella Fernandez
Jessica Guijorro
Edward Mahoney
Christina Thorton

Stay tuned for more updates.

Correction: BRHB-12-05: “Florida Caribbean Student Association Conference”  was not passed, but tabled to the March 23 House meeting.