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Legislative Report: November 22, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2013 by cmwriter777

Here’s a report of the Nov. 22, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This update is brought to you by UP reporters Kathryn Wohlpart and Christopher Jorge Massana.

There was no lack of drama at the Nov. 22 Boca House of Representatives meeting when Campus Gov. Charles Berichi tried to have someone removed from their position at a meeting intended to fill more positions.

The Boca House held in-house elections to fill ten open seats — electing four out of the five applicants who attended. The house welcomed Andrew Kanersky, Michael Cairo, Ashley Hernandez and Alexander Bruno. The fifth applicant in attendance, Jorge Garcia, was not elected due to some House members disliking his proclamation that he wanted to “be a boss” on his application.

During the Open Forum portion of the meeting, packets were handed out with emails and tweets alleging Program Board Director Lindsey Rinner’s unprofessionalism and disregard for regulations. The packets were put together by Berichi, with the goal of removing Rinner from office.

Former Boca Campus Gov. Ella Tepper spoke against the “one sided argument” presented in Berichi’s packet. “I feel that there is a big difference in being constructive and being destructive. I feel that the tone that this packet conveys is very on the destructive side.”

In contrast to Tepper, Multicultural Programing Director Logan Israel supported Berichi’s attempt to remove Rinner. Israel claimed that Rinner wrote “gay shirts” on a box of LGBTQ shirts.  In addition, Israel claimed that Rinner had bad mouthed her and “shushed” her as well as other staff.

Traditions Chair of the Programming Board Trevor Lewis defended Rinner by objecting to Israel’s statements regarding a box of LGBTQ shirts and clarifying her allegations.

“Something else I wanted to address was the whole gay shirts incident. Lindsey had zero participation at all in that. That was actually something that I did…and I’m sorry for that,” Lewis said.

During his Governor’s Report, Berichi made comments regarding Rinner before asking for a motion to remove Rinner from her position.

“I saw Lindsey parade her pals up here…no one is saying she’s a bad human being…when it comes to being director of the Program Board it stops right there…she feels untouchable,” said Berichi.

Adamant about the removal of Rinner, Berichi said “I will do this every week until May, until I graduate.”

Rinner also gave her side during her report time. Rinner presented a handout in response to Berichi’s.

Rinner stated that programs she put on during her time as director were successful with high attendance rates. She also discussed all of the complaints that were brought up against her during the open forum and stated that she was shocked that this issue was up for discussion.

“I had mediation with Charlie on Thursday and I left the mediation thinking that it went really well,” Rinner said. “During our mediation all of our problems were discussed.”

After over three hours of discussion, the House unanimously voted to keep Rinner as Program Director.

Berichi left all eyes on Rinner, but Rep. Ian Dunne moved for a vote of no-confidence against Berichi — twice in one night. Dunne’s first motion early in the meeting was not seconded and did not go to a vote. Dunne’s second motion — made later in the meeting — failed in a roll call vote — 14 to 11.

Friday was not the only time that the House held a vote of no confidence against Berichi this year.  During the summer legislative session on July 19th, Rep. Rebecca Sosa motioned for a vote that failed by a margin of seven to six.

In addition to Rinner’s attempted removal, and the failed vote of no-confidence, the House also discussed three pieces of legislation:

BRHB-13-21: The “700 Statute Revisions” proposed changes to the Student Government constitution that were brought forth in the summer. The House was urged by both Council of Students Organization (COSO) Director Aneal Ramkissoon and Student Government Advisor Ryan Frierson to pass at least a portion of the proposed changes, namely, those that affect COSO’s ability to allocate funds to student organizations before the Fall legislative session came to a close.

“I’m really disappointed that the 700 statutes haven’t been passed. It has been on the floor of the House since June and it has been five months now…we’re extremely frustrated.”said Director Ramkissoon, “…This tit-for-tat back-and-forth, this is not productive. Five months to pass statutes? That’s kind of ridiculous, in my opinion.”

After deliberation, the House decided to unanimously pass part of the revisions affecting programming, which now allows COSO to more effectively allocate funds to student organizations. The remaining revisions were tabled until the spring.

BRHB-13-23: “Focus Group — Owl Wait — Up All Night Event” is a proposal to change a planned SG-sponsored focus group event. The proposal takes into account the unavailability of Traditions Plaza, the original location of the event, and instead proposes to combine the focus group event with Up All Night. The bill cements an agreement between SG and the coordinator of the Up All Night event, which combines the two into a single event with and has allocates $1250 for contest prizes. The measure was passed by unanimous consent of the House.

BRHB-13-24: “Student Government’s Commitment to Safety – Pepper Spray Distribution” is a bill authored by Campus Governor Berichi, written in response to the string of armed robberies on Boca Campus. The bill would authorize the purchase of 1000 keychain pepper spray units to be distributed amongst the student body, with students being required to sign a liability waiver if they request one. The keychain pepper spray units were to be distributed alongside a copy of Florida Statute 776.012 — which defines lawful self-defense — and painted with the SG logo. One representative referred to the pepper sprays as “weapons.”

“We had problems with GEO Group putting their name on a stadium, and they run prisons. Now we’re distributing pepper spray to our student body population?” Rep. Elana Kashti said. “God forbid somebody misuses that and it get on the news with our logo.” said Kashti, “How is that going to look?”

After deliberation, the Boca House moved to table the bill indefinitely, the motion was approved, thus killing the bill.


Legislative Report: September 13, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2013 by dylanjbouscher

Here’s a report of the Sept. 13, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This update is brought to you by UP reporter Christopher Jorge Massana.

The drive-thru-paced Sept. 13 meeting of the Boca House of Representatives was the second-to-last meeting for the current crop of Representatives before the Student Government Legislative Elections on Sept. 24 and 25.

The one piece of legislation discussed at the meeting was BRHB-13-12: “700 Statute Revisions”. This bill, which deals with revisions to the 700 section of the student statutes, was tabled last week. Speaker of the House Jaclyn Broudy discussed the bill during House Forum, stating her opinion on allowing the bill to proceed into the next legislative session after the elections on Sept. 24.

“Since we couldn’t come to a consensus…we can’t have any legislation go into the next session, we don’t want that to happen,” Broudy said. “If we’d gone ahead and passed it, then overridden the governor’s veto, the President would have vetoed it anyways, and then we would be back here and it would have gone to the next session.”

Broudy eventually recommended that the bill be tabled indefinitely.

“My recommendation for you guys [the Boca House] is to table it indefinitely, we’ll bring up the 700 statute revisions at the first meeting of the fall semester,” Broudy said. “…if we all believe that the two semester requirement for each of the program directors is what we want, we can have [the Campus Gov.] veto it and override his veto, and then the President can veto it and we can override his veto too. So basically, it’s your call.”

BRHB-13-12 was tabled indefinitely by the House. Aside from BRHB-13-12, no other legislation was discussed or introduced at the meeting.

Student Government Legislative Elections are open Sept. 24 and 25. Students can use their myFAU account to vote.

Legislative Update: July 26th, 2013

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on July 29, 2013 by cmwriter777

 Here’s a report of the July 26, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This report is brought to you by UP reporters Ella Levinger and Stacey Pasternak.

The second to last session on July 26, 2013–beginning one minute after scheduled time–for the Boca House of Representatives summer term, was missing five delegates, as well as the President, Vice President, and Governor.

Roughly 3 minutes into the session during open forum, Representative Didier Ortiz recalled his meeting in Tallahassee to support Dream Defenders and their “stand your ground” special session of legislature. Dream Defenders is an organization heading up protests in relation to George Zimmerman’s verdict in killing Trayvon Martin.

“We should have dialogue about what happens about the laws, regardless of whether you agree with the verdict or not,” Ortiz said.

Amanda Schumacher filled in for President Peter Amirato, discussing the Florida Student Association conference held in Jacksonville,  an organization bent on improving all the universities in Florida and how they function. Student Body President Peter Amirato, Vice President Patrick Callahan, and Boca Campus Gov. Charles Berichi were all attending. The conference focused on broken vending machines in the Breezeway and other things regarding the FSA.

The program reports began with marketing director Danielle Klaristenfeld, pushing the advertisement of FAU’s new Student Government facebook page, hoping to get 500 likes by friday August 2, 2013.

Aneal Ramkissoon began his first week as COSO director and discussed the preparation of “Get Loud” for August 25, 2013 on the housing lawn. Ramkissoon also mentioned “Club Fest” at campus recreations from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the rec-room on September 11, 2013, and the possibility of an open house on September 5, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.  “so the students could know about the resources and facilities on the second floor of the student union”.

The Committee on Committees Chair report, given by Michael Cepeda, discussed Owl Fowl, where students wear shirts from different schools in exchange for a new FAU shirt.

During the campus Action Chair report, Christopher Ferreira teamed with the marketing director on making pamphlets for the Student Government Starter Kits.

Tabled business, (BRHB-13-12, or “Duties and Powers of the Student Body President”)  “700 statute revisions” was approved by the house unanimously after a friendly amendment from Shireen Rosier for clarification about the bill and what it promises on paper. The “700 statute revisions” updated the rules of the House of Representatives.

During the special order speeches, Parliamentarian Ian Dunne apologized for his behavior at meetings throughout the summer, which he thought could’ve been offensive to the rest of his colleagues.

“I apologize for my behaviors and actions throughout the summer; I’m one of those old school representatives, I have a different mindset than everybody else,” Dunne said.

When asked about his reasoning for apologizing,  Parliamentarian Dunne said,

“My reputation is on the line. If i didn’t do this now, people are going to have less confidence in my ability to be an effective leader.”

Until August 2, stay tuned to Owl Watch.

Legislative Update: July 19th, 2013

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on July 26, 2013 by austenerblat

Here’s a report of the July 19, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This report is brought to you by UP reporters Ella Levinger and Stacey Pasternak.

Student Body President Peter Amirato gave his report for the following week, which included the first home game, block programming and the donation of the fountain to be in front of the student government building. However, the representatives focused primarily on meetings prior.

When the floor yielded for questions to President Amirato, Rep. Christopher Ferreira opened the floor.

“Are you aware that at the House meeting on the 5th you told us that you would not be here on the 12th,” Ferreira said, “and I asked you if you could send a designee for the House meeting on the 12th and you failed to do so?”

Dressed in a hoodie and a baseball hat, President Amirato informed Ferreira and the rest of the House representatives of the reasons why this request was not possible. The president is only required to attend meetings once a month, but he’s gone above and beyond that, so there are no laws against him missing the meeting on the 12th.

Even with the accusations, Amirato stuck to his opinions, but altogether remained neutral.

“At the end of the day, I’m the student body president of the Student Government as a whole and if anything is happening within the Student Government, it is my place to help where I see fit or to assist, to give my opinion, because I am here to lead the student government as a whole,” Amirato said.

“Granted there are duties that are separate from executive and campus base but it’s all one Student Government, one FAU and also as a Boca student. I am a Boca student and these are Boca appointments so, as a concerned Boca student, I also like to share my opinion on how things go.”

President Amirato then discussed meetings he’s had with FAU police, and allotted time for questions directed at him, but the House had none until later.

Then Boca campus Governor Charles Berichi spoke to the House about his Governor’s Administrative Cabinet appointment suggestions. The appointments were successful for new Night Owls Director Derek Smith, and new Council of Student Organizations Director Aneal Ramkisoon, both receiving a unanimous decision from the house.

But tension resurfaced between the legislative and executive branches of SG.

Erijeta Diamanti, candidate for MP director, had no prior experience with MP specifically, but did boast qualifications regarding experience in UN and fluency in four languages. Towards the end of her speech, she stated “I can’t wait to start working,” before even being approved by the House. The House responded with a unanimous no, mirroring the hiring committee, which suggests candidates for the governor to appoint. Disregarding the hiring committee’s unanimous no, Berichi decided to stand alone in his opinion on Diamanti as the ideal MP director.

Rebecca Sosa lost the election for governor to Berichi back in February. Sosa asked, “Are you aware that I know I came in second place, but compared to you, I did it with honor. I did it with dignity.”

Following on this trend, Sosa, an hour and 11 minutes into the session, called for a vote of no confidence, which states that the House representatives lack the certainty that the governor expresses best interest of the student body in his decisions. Then, following an objection by Ferreira, the vote turned into a pro-con debate, where they discussed the repercussions of the vote of no confidence, and whether or not to vote on it.

In a close 7-6 ruling, Berichi kept the House’s confidence. A vote of no confidence is usually the first step toward impeaching an executive in Student Government, such as a campus governor or student body president.

Following the ruling, tensions waned once again. After being tabled, move-in day SG starter kits, which would be administered to new students via the student government to help new students adjust this fall, (Bill BHRB-1311), was spoken about in all the committees and was approved after the price change to $2,694.88 and the 700 Statute Revisions was tabled to committees.

“I wasn’t surprised in the sense of it; seemed like it would be coming at some point,” House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy said, regarding the vote of no confidence. “I think the House is really unhappy with the governor from the way that he’s been treating the House, the way he’s been treating these situations, the appointments he’s been making. He’s going against a committee that’s here to help him.”

Boca House Parliamentarian Ian Dunne, who’s been at FAU since December 2010 and involved in SG for the past 2 ½ years, was not expecting the outcome.

“I was actually surprised, I thought we had the majority but everybody’s opinion is different so I respect the fact that everybody has their own opinion,” Dunne said. “Governor Berichi should be out of office.”

New House Rep. Matt Tuchiero, a junior history major who is also on the rules and policies committee, felt Berichi’s opponents were being too harsh.

“I honestly thought the guy was just expressing an opinion,” Tuchiero said. “What good are First Amendment rights if you’re going to vote against to shoot down everybody who expresses them? There’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland, it goes ‘if everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster.’”

[In a previous version of this story, the UP incorrectly reported the Boca campus governor almost lost his job and met with campus police. These errors have since been corrected.]

Legislative Update: July 5th, 2013

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on July 8, 2013 by austenerblat

Here’s a report of the July 5, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. this report is brought to you by UP reporter Christopher Jorge Massana.

The Boca House of Representatives met the day after Independence Day to discuss upcoming events and a resolution honoring FAU’s military veterans.

The House, with only 15 members present, after hearing the reports from program heads and the chairs of its internal committees, heard Representative Didier Ortiz introduce BRHR-13-09 “Honoring the Veterans Who Have Fought For Our Freedoms.”

“This bill, which I hope everyone will sponsor… recognizes their sacrifice,” Representative Ortiz said, “…and recommends the Campus Action Committee to consider several actions through which SG may honor our veterans.”

BRHR-13-09 was voted on by the House the same day it was introduced, and passed with a unanimous vote of 15-0.

Student Body President Peter Amirato was not present initially during the meeting and thus was unable to deliver his regular report to the House at his assigned time, though he did arrive later in the meeting (along with Vice President Patrick Callahan and Boca Campus Govrnor Charles Berichi) and delivered his report during the House’s open forum.

During his report, Amirato discussed a new plan to bring students to in-state football away games, and announced open positions on several committees that the president is tasked with filling. President Amirato also announced that he will be absent from next Friday’s House meeting, as would Gov. Berichi, as they will be attending a leadership conference in Denver.

[Legislative Update 06/14]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on June 17, 2013 by dylanjbouscher

Here is a recap of the June 7 and June 14, 2013 Boca House of Representatives Meeting, brought to you by UP reporter Austen Erblat.

In the June 7th meeting, Junior business major Wini Camille, was elected as a  new House representative member.

Student Body President Peter Amirato was absent due to a personal matter. His Executive Assistant, Emir Caglayan, told the Boca House that Amirato wants to launch a campaign, to hear from students about having a “smoke free” campus.

Boca Governor Charles Berichi, in his report, listed his new appointments. Before approving his appointments, House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy asked Berichi to discuss what transpired in a Senate meeting that he attended the day before.

Berichi explained that graduate students who have tuition waivers for working at the university, usually covered by the Graduate College, won’t receive waivers due to budget cuts this year. Then Berichi announced funding would be requested from Student Government.

“Let’s clarify, this is not something myself or the president or any of the governors came up with,” he explained. “This is something that was proposed to us to take up the funding the graduate college had funded in empirical years.”

Berichi does not currently receive a tuition waiver, but Broudy asked Berichi numerous times if he felt entitled to one, or if he proposed new ideas that would grant him a waiver.

After Berichi denied he deserved one, Broudy read aloud an e-mail, sent from Governor Berichi to President Amirato and Broward Campus Governor, John Cordero, with the waiver percentage amendments that were discussed:

– 100% tuition waiver for Campus Governors (Broward, Boca, and Jupiter)

– 60% tuition waiver for Chief Justices

– 70% tuition waiver for Governors Administrative Cabinet

If approved, Berichi’s tuition waiver would be paid for by A&S fee money, which all students pay in their tuition to fund Student Government. Berichi defended himself, explaining that it was not his idea and that he would be open to getting the money from other places than the A&S fee.

He then informed the House that all of their input is valuable and will be implemented at the next Board of Governor’s meeting.

Next was the Governor’s Appointments. Bianca Ilardi was unanimously elected as Interfaith Programming Director, Lisandra Jimenez as Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement (SAVI) Director, Vanessa Pressoir as Associate Justice, Danielle Chinworth as Multi-Cultural Programming Director, Nick Knight as Night Owls director, and Erjeta Diamanti as COSO Director.

Chinworth, Knight, and Diamanti were not elected to their positions. They were each asked a series of questions by fellow representatives, and were voted against (Chinworth’s appointment vote was 12 no’s to 4 yes’s, Diamanti received 10 no’s to 6 yes’s and Knight received 16 no’s and 0 yes’s).

Berichi also appointed House Representative, Nadine Aly to fill a vacancy in the Boca Senate, to which she was elected, joining two other senate members for the Boca campus.

Boca campus treasurer Ricky Lejuez, in his report, shared the current account balances including the House Projects Account ($1,469.93), the House Contingency after BRHB-13-10 is final ($15,574), the Parliamentary Budget for the next fiscal year ($5,600) and the House Contingency for the next fiscal year ($65,274). Lejuez did not have the Senate contingency at the time of his report.

Student Government Adviser, Ryan Frierson, made a few announcements in his report. Student Government ordered umbrellas with the “SG” logo on them. They are currently in the process of being ordered, but details need to be worked out with vendors and logo printing. Frierson also stated that he purchased paintball guns for FAU’s Cadet Club as laid out in BRHB-13-10. Finally, he announced that LDR 2010, the leadership course that all Resident Assistants and Orientation Leaders must take will not be required for anyone in a volunteer position in Student Government, but there is still no decision on whether those in paid positions will be required to take the course.

“In either case, I would strongly encourage you to take the course.” He explained that exemptions will exists and will be examined on a case by case basis, but explained that the course is very useful and will provide a lot of information Student Government leaders need.

Broudy finished the session by stressing the importance of checks and balances between the House of Representatives and the governor, referring to their questioning of Berichi and his appointments. She explained it was not only their right to question the governor and his activity, but their job, and that it is the only way the system can function.

June 14

In the meeting, President Peter Amirato, Vice President Patrick Callahan, and Governor Charles Berichi (although the governor did come in later, after his report was called).

Chief Justice, Ryan Quinn informed the House that he is in the process of trying to get old bills archived.

Lisandra Jimenez, SAVI Director announced that there would be a Summer Splash event on Thursday June 20th through Saturday the 22nd for all incoming Freshmen to play games and meet new people. SAVI will also be hosting an event with Habitat for Humanity, Saturday, June 22nd at 12 PM. Location is TBA, but lunch and transportation will be provided.

In their chair reports, Rules and Policies Director Shareen Rosier and Ways and Means Director, Rebecca Sosa urged everyone to vote on BRHR-13-07, “Adamant Opposition to the Required LDR 2010 Course.” This resolution showed the members of the House’s strong opposition to the enactment of LDR 2010 being required for all members, and would send their concerns to the Board of trustees.

The House went on to vote unanimously (17-0) in favor of BRHR-13-07, expressing their disapproval of the administration’s intentions to require the class.

Ryan Ebanks, a previous Governor of the FAU Boca campus came to speak in open forum, expressing anger in the way the House acted in the last meeting.

“The house should not intervene,” Ebanks said, referring to Governor Berichi’s appointments and the House members questioning (and in some cases, not confirming them). “The Speaker (sic) should be held accountable.”

When questioned on his stance on the issue of graduate students in leadership positions getting tuition waivers from A&S fees, Ebanks did not give an answer in support or opposition, repeating “it depends.”

Then, Speaker Broudy announced that she will be offering a course or seminar in bill writing for anyone interested. She summed up explaining that tuition waivers had never been paid for by A&S fees in the past.

In a statement to the University Press, Broudy said “It’s ridiculous. There’s no reason governors should receive waivers, or other graduate students, there’s no reason they should get preferential treatment over undergraduate students, or vice versa.”

The University Press asked Governor Berichi for a statement three times, but was unavailable to speak with us at the time.

[Legislative Update 5/31/13]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on June 3, 2013 by austenerblat

Here is a recap of the May 31, 2013 Boca House of Representatives Meeting, brought to you by University Press reporter Austen Erblat.

During Student Government’s May 31st Boca House of Representatives meeting, Student Body President, Pedro “Peter” Amirato urged everyone to promote FAU’s first football game of the 2013-2014 season, on August 30 in his report.

In her report, the new Program Board Director Lindsay Rinner notified the House of two upcoming events including a June 21 Summer Jam event for incoming freshmen, and a June 27 comedy show (comedian is TBA).


BRHR-13-10  passed unanimously in a 19-0 vote, granting FAU’s Army ROTC Cadet Club new training and drill rifles. (Check last week’s report to see the specifics about the bill.)

Speaker of the House Jaclyn Broudy summed up the meeting in her legislative report by reiterating the events that transpired last week regarding LDR 2010, and informing students that they were creating ad hoc groups to protest the act.

Broudy also commented on Cadet Club’s bill passing, praising the House, calling it “another example of us helping the students.”

Stay tuned to OwlWatch for updates on the leadership class that could soon become required to be in FAU’s Student Government.