Editorial: Student Government vote not to be taken lightly

Greg Parlier

(Illustration by Joey Taravella)

 

Through the years, the Spinnaker has had the privilege of covering the inner workings of Student Government. There are Senate meetings, administrative committees and budget deliberations. SG allocates over $4.5 million of student money how it thinks students would approve. SG speaks for students in university-wide committees, in President John Delaney’s office, in front of the Board of Trustees and in Tallahassee. In other words, SG acts as both your budget director and your voice. But SG shouldn’t have to guess at what the students want.

The beauty of the university system is you can tell your SG representatives what to say and how to spend. Not only that, they want you to tell it what to do. Unlike Rage Against the Machine, they’ll do what you tell them. So tell them.

SG elections are March 6 and 7, and there will be plenty of names on the ballot. There are two presidential tickets, Red and Moderate Green, and a slew of senators running under a number of different hues. It’s still unclear why UNF’s aspiring politicians’ creativity has never surpassed the color wheel. The Spinnaker suggests The Beaks and Talons. Or the Boathouse Boozers. Now that’s a party.

Regardless, as students, you have options. And this year, unlike some in years past, the options for the presidential ticket are somewhat varied.

Critics of SG elections may suggest it doesn’t matter. That whoever gets elected will do the same things, represent the same students the same way, have the same stance toward the University administration and say the same things in Tallahassee regarding fee increases. To an extent, some of this is true. It’s true that chances are whoever gets elected will hold similar stances in regards to fees, tuition and parking. But it’s important that you elect someone who represents you. Your voice should be heard in SG, so elect someone who will make that happen.

Vote for someone who holds similar university values to you. Vote for someone who will hear your wishes, no matter your political stance or involvement on campus. What it all boils down to is representation. Simplified, that is the No. 1 job of SG: to be your voice and allocate funds as you wish.

Don’t vote for whoever has the best or most signs. Don’t vote for whoever has the best pizza toppings on election day. Don’t vote for a party just because it is the underdog or the favorite. Don’t vote for your favorite color. These elections are more important than that.

If you think things went swimmingly this past year, that communication and representation could not have been better, then vote Red because it will essentially be a continuation of the current administration.

“From the inside, I don’t think there’s much I would do differently. I’ve been working with Matt and Courtney for about a year now. I think we’ve had great communication with the student body this year. We’ve never been so transparent. We’re like cellophane paper,” said Red Party vice presidential hopeful and current Chief of Staff Mike Naughton.

If you feel underrepresented, especially as a nontraditional student, and feel that SG should reach out more to those who may not frequent the third floor of the Student Union East, vote Moderate Green. Moderate Green party presidential candidate John Fails is a former veteran, is married and is a graduate student. It doesn’t get more nontraditional than that.

If school pride is near the top your list of UNF improvements, then vote Red. Naughton talks about school pride like he took Brian Wilson’s 1963 advice to heart and then made it his platform.

If SG transparency is your No. 1 concern, then vote Moderate Green because Fails cites communication breakdown as his biggest fault with SG as well.

If Greek life is your thing, maybe the Red party is too, because 13 of the 25 senators running with Red are Greek, plus the presidential ticket.

If the Military and Veterans Resource Center or the Model United Nations is more your speed, Green has it covered, with the president and vice president of the UNF Model UN as the vice president and presidential hopefuls, respectively.

If you see SG experience as an indispensible trait in your presidential ticket, then vote Red because Fassi and Naughton have both been involved in SG for the last three years.

If classroom knowledge, political science expertise and life experience are more pertinent to the election in your mind, Moderate Green is your party. Fails worked at Veterans’ Services in downtown Jacksonville, giving him insight into the workings of City Hall.

The point is that these parties are distinctly different, and you should grace one of them with your vote, for good reason.

Over the last two spring elections, an average of only 3,434 students voted. That’s an abysmal 21 percent of total enrolled students if that many voted this year. With this much at stake, we can do better than that.

To not vote would be passing up an opportunity to have a say in how this school is run, what students stand for and what happens to your money. And if we know anything, we know money matters. So let’s vote for something. Anything.

 

 

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