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.

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[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).

Legislation

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.

[Legislative Report 5/24/13]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on May 29, 2013 by dylanjbouscher

Here is a recap of the May 24, 2013 Boca House of Representatives Meeting, brought to you by University Press reporter Austen Erblat.

Friday marked the first Boca House meeting of the summer semester, where a new Student Body President and his executive staff introduced themselves to the House.

Senior Ocean Engineering major and new Student Body President, Pedro “Peter” Amirato,  introduced himself to the House equipped with a t-shirt, jeans, and some jokes.

Then, the new Boca Governor, Charles Berichi introduced his appointees: Ricky Lejuez, Boca campus Treasurer; Cynthia Maceda, Peer Education Team Director; Amanda Shumacher, Chief of Staff; and Lindsay Rinner, Program Board Director.

After the introductions, Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena congratulated the new SG leaders, who recently completed Student Affairs training. Then, Mena talked about FAU’s leadership course, LDR 2010, which might soon be required for Student Government leaders.

Representative Didier Ortiz was unhappy with this news, and asked Mena who was responsible for enacting that policy. The class, however, is not officially required yet, according to Mena.

“Can leadership really be taught in a classroom?” Representative Michael Cepeda, who already took the class, asked Mena. Cepeda later stated the class was redundant.

Other members protested the action for financial reasons, as financial aid does not cover any credits above the 120 required for their Bachelor’s degrees.


Legislation
BRHB-13-10: “FAU’s Army ROTC Cadet Club” is a bill to replace the paintball guns used by FAU’s ROTC cadets for infantry training, as well as the Color Guard rifles twirled at ceremonies and football games. Cadet Club requested the Boca House allocate $3,503.39 for these guns, which include 14 Tippmann 98 Custom paintball guns, six Spyder Aggressor paintball guns, and two DrillAmerica Springfield 1903 Drill Rifles. The bill was written by Emily Ross, Nick Knight, and Charles Berichi, sponsored by Kaitlyn Jenkins, and tabled until the May 31 meeting.

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

[ Legislative Report 4/19/2013 ]

Posted in Boca House Meetings, Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 by dylanjbouscher

Here’s a report of the April 19, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This report is brought to you by University Press reporter Christopher Jorge Massana.

The April 19 meeting of the Student Government Boca House of Representatives marks the last time of the spring semester that the House will convene.

It also marks the day when the Boca House was introduced to a resolution condemning the appointment of a member of the Board of Trustees.

BRHR-13-06: “Condemnation of Elizabeth Fago Smith’s Nomination to the FAU Board of Trustees”, authored and sponsored by Representative Bryant Terrance Eng (who, in the interest of full disclosure, has written articles for the UP this semester). The resolution is an official condemnation of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s appointment of Elizabeth Fago Smith, a wealthy local businesswoman who operates Palm Health Partners, to Florida Atlantic University’s Board of Trustees.

The resolution notes that Fago Smith “has had nine liens filed against her by the IRS to recoup back taxes and has been a defendant in at least 35 lawsuits primarily for nonpayment and breach of contract”. Smith was also previously married to Milton Keith Pinder, of the Pinder Cartel, a drug organization that trafficked cocaine and marijuana, and had alleged connections with infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. According to the resolution, this “draws negative attention to Florida Atlantic University and thus reflects poorly upon the University’s student body.”

“She has a long history of personal and fiscal [ir]responsibility, and very little experience or expertise in higher education” said Eng, “Ryan Frierson [the SG Advisor] pointed to the idea that this has been a tough year for FAU; there’s a lot of things that you can’t avoid, the robbery that was on campus or teachers saying one thing… but probably the biggest wound was self-inflicted, and that’s systemic of some of the leadership in the Board of Trustees making decisions that are not in the best interest of our university. 

Eng then continued, “That being said, I wrote this bill with the idea in mind that we need to recognize that appointing this individual to the Board of Trustees is going weaken the competence of the Board of Trustees to make decisions beneficial to our university in the future.”

Eng then went on to discuss the the evidence attached to the bill, concluding with “Quite frankly, I wouldn’t hire someone to work at McDonald’s if they were married to a drug cartel man, and were sued 35 times for breaching contract, much less a Board of Trustees.”

Before Eng defended his resolution, others in the Boca House had a chance to speak about the bill, and what passing it would mean.

“I would recommend that this resolution be sent to the committees before it is sent to the Board of Trustees,” said Representative Clairmine Cyrise. ”We must investigate if she was guilty-charged, and on what grounds. We must investigate if she has [a background in] education or not, and before we send this bill to the Board of Trustees, we might be laughed at for this, because we have no proof that she has a [background in] education or not.”

Many other representatives agreed with Cyrise, including Eng himself, who advocated tabling the resolution in his closing comments. In the end, the resolution was tabled by a 20-3 margin and sent to House Committees for review before being brought up at the May 24 House Meeting. 

Outside of condemning Scott’s choice in trustees, the Boca House was also informed of new rules regarding the qualifications of their positions.

”LDR 2010… there is a possibility, going into next year, that to have a leadership position within Student Government, which could include the House, that this class could be a requirement,” said Student Government Advisor Ryan Frierson.

LDR 2010, for those interested, is a one-credit leadership course that, according to its registration catalogue, “Exposes students to the basic foundation of leadership and its application to college experiences in student leadership roles. Students engage in activities and projects that increase self awareness through the exploration of values, beliefs, culture and identity.”

Some representatives were less than thrilled that their positions may have new qualifications.

“My take on it is that it should be taken on a case-by-case basis…” said House Pro-Tempore Langston Wimberly “…just in case a student is not capable of paying for that class. They shouldn’t be forced to pay for it, they don’t have the means to provide for that class. Other than that, I think it’s a great idea, to help prepare students to be future leaders.”

“I don’t believe that students should have to pay for a course, and as it is, students have enough difficulty paying for courses that they have to take that are required, so I don’t think [it’s] fair for students to have to take a course to hold a leadership position” said House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy, “I take five classes, sometimes I take six a semester. I know in my own schedule, to add on a seventh class this semester just to take a leadership course…on a student’s wallet, I just don’t think that students should have to sign up to take a course to have a position.”

In addition to the above, April 19 was also the last meeting for outgoing Boca Campus Governor Ella Tepper, junior Sociology major.

“Today marks my last house meeting as Governor, but also my last house meeting as a member of Student Government” said Tepper, “I’ve been involved since August of 2010, year-round. I started here in this room, as a house representative, I moved up to becoming the director of COSO [Council of Student Organizations], and then became governor, as I’m standing before you guys here today…I just want to say it’s been an absolutely incredible experience.”

After Tepper’s announcement, she received applause and well-wishing comments, such as Representative Rebecca Sosa’s “Are you aware that you’re an amazing governor?”, as she departed.

Two more pieces of legislation were announced at the House meeting in addition to Eng’s resolution:

BRHR-13-07: “School Supply Vending Machines”, authored by Representative Rebecca Sosa and sponsored by a large number of representatives, passed unanimously. The resolution was meant to put the full support of the House behind the idea of turning the titular school supply vending machines into a reality at FAU, which would allow students to pick up any basic school supplies they need, even in the dead of night. “This is something that would truly benefit  those students who don’t have means of transportation, especially if they want to purchase school supplies after hours” said Sosa, ”It’s just a resolution, so hopefully during the summer we can work on together and submit a bill figure out all the logistics of it.”

BRHB-13-09: “Umbrellas for Traditions Plaza”, authored and sponsored by Jaclyn Broudy, also passed unanimously. The bill provides 10 new umbrellas for Traditions Plaza for $4,455 (approximately 6.8 percent of the House’s annual budget). As part of the bill, the Student Government logo would be displayed on the umbrellas alongside FAU’s logo.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2013 by dylanjbouscher

Here’s a report of the March 29, 2013 Boca House of Representatives meeting. This report is brought to you by UP reporter Christopher Jorge Massana.

 Pablo Paez, a former FAU Student Body President representing the GEO Group, spoke after Boca House Speaker Jaclyn Broudy invited him. GEO is the private prison company that recently donated $6 million to FAU to rename its football stadium. Paez is now the company’s vice president of corporate relations.

 “Last week, we had one of the members of the Faculty Senate come and speak to us,” Broudy said, explaining the invitation. “So we had the other side, we had students who were on the opposing side of the GEO group gift.”

 Paez spoke with the intent of dispelling rumors. “I know you’ve heard much about the GEO Group, and I’m here to share a different perspective with you,” he said.

 Silence filled the House Chambers when Paez stood at the podium and defended GEO’s  human rights policy.

 “Our company is absolutely committed to protecting human rights,” Paez said. “We have policies and procedures that have human rights principles throughout them.”

 This statement is echoed in Paez’ 20-page informational packet, which was passed out prior to his speech. “The GEO Group has always been committed to protecting the human rights of the persons entrusted to its care. Recognizing the unique nature of its operations and the significance of its relationships with government agencies, GEO has adopted a Global Human Rights policy.”

 Paez then went on to discuss GEO Group’s rehabilitation and community re-entry services, its transitional housing, the GED reception rate of outgoing inmates from its facilities, and it’s support systems for rehabilitated inmates.

 Then he addressed the allegations that GEO has lobbied for changing current immigration and incarceration policies. “My company has neither advocated or lobbied for any such policies,” Paez said.

 Once Paez finished speaking, he answered questions asked by House Reps. “Clearly, we’re not getting any positive publicity from this, we’re doing this to help the university.”

 When asked what he would say to students strongly opposed to the deal, Paez said, “Look at the totality of a company’s record, when judging the quality of a company…”

 Then Paez was asked if GEO Group would still donate to FAU if the stadium deal fell through.

 “Absolutely. We’ve been doing it for more than 10 years, and we will continue to support the university … We will continue to support the university as much as the university supports us,” said Paez.

 After the meeting, Student Body President Robert Huffman explained why he voted to approve the GEO Group deal with the Board of Trustees, FAU’s thirteen highest ranking officials.

 “It’s really tough, you know, on my part, to make a decision based off the entire student body,” Huffman said. “At the same time, I have to make a decision that benefits FAU on a long-term scale. I think it’s really important that we take these opportunities and cut the costs to students as much as we can.”

 “The GEO Group has a lot to give to FAU, and we have a lot to give to our community as well,” Huffman said.

 After Pablo Paez’s GEO Group presentation, the House voted on two pieces of legislation.

 BRHB-13-05: “Wagons for the Dorms” passed 21 to 1. The bill allocated $1,112.69 for 15 luggage wagons to help students move into the dorms on campus, and was written and sponsored by Speaker Broudy.

 BRHB-13-06: “Undergraduate Research Symposium” was tabled, with the vote delayed. The bill was written by COSO Director Joshua Scholl and sponsored by Broudy, and asked for the House to allocate $2,361.00. If approved, the money will be spent on banners, tablecloths, poster storage tubes, and laser pointers for the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

 Stay tuned to Owl Watch.

[Dylan Bouscher contributed reporting to this story.]

[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.