SG hopefuls sit down with the Spinnaker

Student Body Vice President Mike Saathoff has announced his candidacy for Student Body President. He is running with Club Alliance Assistant Director Brandon Alanis on the United Ospreys Party ticket. Saathoff and Alanis sat down with the Spinnaker for a question and answer session.

Why are you running for Student Body president and Vice President?

S- “There are a lot of things I want to see happen within Student Government, and that first starts with making sure we are bringing everything the students are saying and really start pushing the students’ agenda.”

What is your biggest issue on your platform?

S – “We had a parking forum that I attended … at this forum a young lady said ‘I cried in my car because I cannot park. I paid $160 to park, why can’t I park.’ That’s a problem.”

What party are you running with and what are some of the ideals?

S – “Being in [Student Government] for three years now … this whole party thing has developed into something that I just do not like. Every single time … I am always reiterating the party thing is all well and good and that is fine that you are with people that think like you, and I don’t mind that, but what I do mind is when you are sitting here making decisions because you’re concerned that somebody is not going to want you on their party or that you are making decisions that absolutely are not [reflective] on the student body.”

S – “You have to think, not just for yourself, but think for the students you represent, because there is 16,000 people out there who have issues and who are real people.”

A – “We’re getting down to the nitty gritty because for Mike and I, it’s go time. We are getting away from color [parties]. United Ospreys Party is what we will be running with. We will be empowering all and will be bringing the ‘student’ back to ‘student government.’ And our theme is transparency. There is no more room for backdoor politics. ”

A – “The Red Party is viewed as the big powerhouse, and we get the question a lot, and Mike gets it every day of why he isn’t the Red Party candidate, and that is a personal choice to go out and to seek something else and something newer and something bigger and better.”

How do you expect to work with the Red Party in a two-party system?

S – “We’re here for the students, and I think a lot of that is going to be having to take on the executive branch and say we are pushing [this] forth and we are getting this out and making the government more open.”

S – “Just like Senators can see bills ahead of time, students should be able to see those bills ahead of time, as well.”

How do you plan to run against a friend and a current co-worker?

S – “We get stuck on the whole party thing, but it’s really visions that are set forth. And the vision that [Brandon and I] are seeking is one that [will] incorporate all the students and everybody who feels that they are left out. Everybody who sits there and goes ‘SG, what have they done for me?’”

What do you see the role of the Vice President being if you are elected?

A- “The role of the office is going to change. [Mike and I] are going to stand arm-in-arm united, I’m not going to be just supporting him and holding him up from his big office and me next door, the door will be open and there will be clear communications and equal decisions.”

What are some of the things you would like to see the Board of Trustees do?

S – “I think we definitely need to look at our tuition [rates] again. [If we are going to increase tuition 15 percent every year], and I’ve done the math and when I saw the math, I was like ‘no, no, no, no, no.’ What made us so great was how affordable it is and in a pressing economy that we’re in now, now you want to raise it? But if we do raise the tuition fees … let’s please make sure that we’re backing [it] up with professors, and I don’t mean adjuncts, I mean tenured professors so that we can go to their office and have one-on-one relationships with them. ”

Student Government Chief of Staff Tom Blanchard has announced his candidacy for Student Body President. He is running with Sen. Laura McGregor on the Red Party ticket. The election will be held on March 30 and March 31. Blanchard and McGregor sat down with the Spinnaker for a question and answer session.

Who are you looking for to run on your ticket?

B – “We sit down personally with everyone who shows interest to run for Senate and meet with them to discuss why they want to run for Senate and why they want to get involved in Student Government, what plans they have and really what we do look for is people who have showed leadership around campus, whether it be in campus clubs or different Greek organizations or athletics, and we really want to find a diverse crowd from all around campus.”

B – “[We] want the whole student body [to be] heard, we don’t want it to be from one part of campus. We don’t want just athletics’ voice to be heard or just clubs’ voices to be heard or just Greeks’ voice to be heard for that matter. We want everybody’s voice to be heard.”

Do you see the recent increase in Activity and Service fees being a long-term trend?

B – “I don’t believe another increase will be necessary in the next year. If we get elected, that is not something that we would pursue. I believe for right now, we need to learn to improve upon the budget that we have because I feel that we can use that money to better benefit the students.”

M- “I don’t think we should promise that we are not going to raise the [fees] or that we are going to lower it. But we will absolutely try to work with what we have. Why have people pay more money when it’s not necessary? But, as UNF is growing and expanding and becoming a better university every year … the things that they had to increase were necessary. They got new counselors and did things to make the university better as a whole.”

How do you feel about the wait list for the UNF Counseling Center?

M – “When you pay your tuition, I know part of your tuition does go to the counseling [center] which should be open to everybody if they ever wanted to speak with anybody. It is unfortunate that there is a wait list because there are students out there I know who are in need of help or in need of someone to talk to, and the only place they really have is the counseling center … which is an issue that should be addressed.”

What are some of your criticisms of SG, and how can it improve?

B – “One thing that I think needs to improve that SG hasn’t done to the best of [its] ability thus far is making sure that we are the voice of the majority. I feel that a lot of times SG can become the voice of those that are involved and that is why we want to make student surveys, [which] will make it more open for students to share their opinions and see what the majority of the student body desires on campus.”

“It is a little step, but it has a huge result. We sit on university wide committees all around campus, and it’s very important that when we sit down and speak we are being the voice for the students not just for SG.”

What do you tell the student who doesn’t really care about SG?

B – “There is a $3.4 million budget that comes from every student’s tuition money, and it’s SG’s job to make sure that those dollars that come directly from student tuition are used to the best of their ability. But it’s not only the budget it’s the influence we have with the administrators around campus. We hear different problems around campus or with parking or things they want to improve with athletics or the counseling center [but] these are all things we can overcome if we have the support of the student body, but without people getting encouraged to vote and wanting to come out in support, there is not much SG can do.”

M – “[Students] might not think that they care now, but when they’re in grad school or when their club needs funding to go to an event, it is the Senate who they go to ask for money or help and that is our purpose is to be there for students.”

How do you plan on engaging the student body and getting them involved in SG?

B – “We would like to create opportunities for students to be appointed to sit on universitywide committees that they feel strongly about, maybe students who aren’t necessarily directly involved in Student Government now could be appointed to sit on those committees and voice their opinions. That’s something we’d like to see done.”


  1. It sounds like the second group has less experience and no plans. This worries me. 

  2. Typical Politicans

    This student is disappointed that after two years as Vice President Saathoff has appeared to turn into nothing but another politician. Is he for or against tuition increase? Is parking on his platform or not? It’s time for something new, change in SG I like Blanchard and this girl he is running with they seem legit.

  3. It sounds like the first group is all rhetoric.

  4. I like the new guy and girl They seem more sincere

  5. i think its important to see that Saathoff was elected with the red party last year, and obviously even his party members dont think he is the most qualified candidate to represent them.

  6. Can we have some NEW parties show up?


    No, all of the people in both parties have been in Student Government for a few years.
    I want to see some NEW people get elected for Student Government!

  7. YO SG sucks! why do we waste soo much darn money at this school??? I’m paying way too much to park at this place much less the tuition and all the other “fees” that come along with it. SG needs to quit taking there little vacations and crap and actually do something b/c I would rather pay less money then have some shitty concert or a late night breakfast. but what do I know im just a student who funds everything they do

  8. How about you drop the party crap all together and have some guts and run on your own. SG has always had favorites and they love to act like they are better then everyone else

  9. The red party wants people from “clubs, greek organizations and athletics” but then goes on to say how they represent the majority of the school?! not everyone is greek buddy! And as for funding to clubs, where was the funding for LGTB when all they needed was a small amount for shirts?!
    John McCain and Sarah Palin didn’t get elected for a reason

  10. @OutsideEye, AGREED. The red party seems to be going towards a newer look.
    Elections should be exciting!!!

  11. After reading these interviews I wasn’t sure that Saathoff and Alanis even heard the questions. The answers sounded too canned. Blanchard and McGregor at least answered the questions. That’s where my vote is going.

  12. Red seems to contradict themselves and hide their immaturity with the issues/campus by using vague answers that lack true direction.

  13. I am also a candidate for these elections and should I will most likely be in the next Spinnaker. I am here for YOU.

    “Communicate. Solve. Improve.”

  14. I am also a candidate to these elections and I should be addressing you in the next Spinnaker. I am here for you.

    “Communicate. Solve. Improve.”

  15. Minority Student

    I’m deeply concerned with the Yellow Party as they lack the necessary experience to be President and VP. It might sound refreshing having an outsider to come in and run our SG but the impact of having novices running politics and the risk of that is simply too great. Without an understanding of how the system works and what should be done when the 3 AM phone call rolls by, it puts the future of all Ospreys at potential risk. While I appreciate the courage these candidate are making and appauld them of the desire to make our SG better, the risk of no experience on the job is simply too great.

  16. Jasmine Stanley

    @ Minority Student

    A person can gain experience from managing/participating in organizations other than just Student Government. I know that the Yellow Party has students who while they may not have student government experience, they are active on campus. I’m the commenter who said that they wanted some new people to run for Student Government.

    The truth is that the Student Government has a system in place to teach new students coming in about the Student Government Constitution and procedures and they do a wonderful job of it.

    What they don’t do a wonderful job about is informing students about events ahead of time. I know that the current administration attempted to have town hall meetings. That’s a start, but if they don’t actually listen to students then it’s all for nothing.

  17. PartiesChange

    I am slightly concerned by the comments on here…..please note that the parties change every year! The Red, Yellow, Green, Blue or whatever color a group chooses to run with doesn’t represent the same thing from year to year…..If they tell you that, they are lying…..If you have questions about who is going to address the issues close to you and how they are going to address them…then talk to them! Go to the Debate, or take 5 minutes out of your time on campaign day and actually meet the candidates you are voting for. Don’t just blindly fill out the ballot because someone gave you a card with a pretty picture on it! With all the problems with the current budget, you want to put people in SG who have a game plan…not just someone with a catchy slogan, pretty face, or with letters on their chest….just my two cents..

  18. Ad it up Man

    I am voting Yellow because the current people in SG are from red and they have totally ignored the people that put them in these positions. For example, the senate race of fall 2009 where all the senators kept their seats. Not only did that election feel rigged, the president at the time ,Saathoff’s former partner in crime, applauded the election results stating that means that they have done a good job. Maybe the reason no one wanted to run against any of the senators is because the senate positions are only won by members of one party… I see Saathof’s switch to a “blue” party platform as a political gimmick to trick the student population into thinking that there is a true diverse representation in SG. What a joke.

    I am going to vote for so much Yellow and Blue(besides for president) that the red party will be Green with Envy.

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