Carlo Fassi calls out apathetic student body

Carlo Fassi, student body president
Courtesy of UNF Student Government

Carlo Fassi, student body president Courtesy of UNF Student Government

Spinnaker

What follows is a copy of a Facebook comment Student Body President Carlo Fassi left on the Spinnaker Facebook page Tuesday, March 4 at 11:31 p.m. The comment originally appeared on a daily news story that let students know there would not be any elections this semester. According to the Student Government Director of Communications, what follows is the official statement of SG’s president and, by extension, the executive branch. Read the original story here

Considering the amount of work put forth by those charged with administering elections (and for the amount of respect I have for those elected officers), I have to comment to clarify on some of the information in this article.

When captioning an action shot of a previous SG election with “It has been two years since there was a full presidential and senatorial election,” I want to point out I did face an opponent last year, but the candidate for presidency was disqualified. The qualifications set by our Constitution and Statutes (which have remained unchanged for five years) were not met by this individual, period. The student endorsed by over 450 students did not fully understand the expectations set by SG’s governing laws. — I’d also add that a senatorial election took place in fall of 2012 when the Yellow party contested. 

I’d also like to reiterate the Senate President’s statement. Multiple efforts were undertaken by the entirety of Student Government to drive candidacy involvement this year. Our election supervisor went to a handful of club meetings; spoke at Club Alliance meetings, Greek functions, agency events and I even sent an all-student e-mail to promote an event on campus intended promote elections. We successfully had over 40 students submit Declarations of Intent to run, and 3 parties registered. Unfortunately, said students willingly, mistakenly or unknowingly did not meet the requirements to run. Again, these requirements have been met by hundreds of candidates over the past four years. 

Running for student government, a commitment which involves the distribution of a state-mandated fee and the vocalization of student concerns on campus should not be taken lightly. SG deals with serious issues, such as the classification of residency status for tuition purposes, the funding of multi-million dollar capital projects and even tuition rates themselves; all activities which require an official capable of reading chapters 600-617 of our election code (all of 20 pages, maybe).. I would hope our students expect some level of competency when it comes to handling these initiatives.

More importantly, my administration has taken strides to open communication with students regarding both services provided by SG and university policy in general. SG’s Student Advocate has worked diligently with our outreach committee in our senate to collect student input on numerous university projects. He’s also been instrumental in the choosing of students for university-wide committees and the creation of a drop-box on the SG website for comments. We’ve also tremendously grown our social media outreach in the past year. Any students implying SG doesn’t have a presence on campus or doesn’t affect the lives of everyday students, shows a lack of understanding in what SG really does.

We provide students with top-notch entertainment through epic concerts, movie nights, trivia or other educational programming. We fund, manage and help promote over two-hundred clubs, affecting the lives of thousands of students both on and off campus. We help provide volunteer opportunities to students hoping to build a resume or accumulate service hours. We work on perfecting our governing laws on a consistent basis. We fund campus initiatives which help alleviate unnecessary burdens on campus (like garage monitors – something my administration is hoping to finalize before april 9th). We work with campus departments to promote student friendly policies everywhere, such as Parking Services, our Conduct Office, Housing & Residence Life, etc. We ensure appropriate allocations of student fee revenue when necessary thru multiple fee committees. We work with the university in proposing capital requests to the state of Florida. We advocate for low tuition rates. These projects cannot be accomplished by those unwilling to make SG a serious commitment. I’m confident in those who chose to run this semester. 

People who know nothing about Student Government can easily say we should advertise more or spend more time on outreach. There are 16,000 students on this campus and we constantly endeavor to increase and improve their understanding of our department, but there is eventually a line. If we spent all our time informing students of who we are, what we do and how they can be a part of it, we would never get anything done for the very students we are here to represent. So I’m asking a little more of our students, just like I think this article subtly implies. We can only do so much outreach. Students need to be willing to listen. Not just because we’re giving you a free meal or a tshirt, but because you care about how thousands of dollars out of your pocket are being spent on your behalf.