Senate candidate forum canceled due to lack of attendance

Spinnaker

Student Government Elections Supervisor Courtney Warner canceled the Senate candidate forum scheduled for Oct. 8 because no students attended.

The forum was designed as an outreach to students to learn what the different parties have to offer if elected Oct. 20-21. The forum, which Warner had planned to be held at noon Oct. 8 on the second floor of the Student Union in the auditorium, did not garner any attendance besides some of the candidates running for Senate.

Student Body President Sitou Byll-Cataria decided to move the forum up to the Club Alliance Presidents’ Luncheon that was taking place on the third floor of the Student Union at the same time. Candidates were then given a chance to converse with the club leaders around campus and discuss what plans they had for the university.

Since the United Ospreys left prior to the event’s move the luncheon and the Independent party did not show up, the Red Party was the only party represented at the luncheon.

Warner said the responsibility for campaigning and promoting the event was the job of each party. Warner said she is disappointed in the lack of student body attendance, but she said it was a Friday and did not expect a large number of students to attend.

“It is disappointing knowing that the student body isn’t really that into what’s going on,” Warner said. “It’s hard to spread word on this campus sometimes.”

Representatives from the United Ospreys party left early after showing signs of frustration at the lack of attendance. Kyle Nelson, a UNF economic junior of the United Ospreys Party, said he was disappointed in the absence of members of the student body and the lack of advertising done to promote the event.

Budgets and Allocations Chair Carlo Fassi, a red party senator who is also running this election, said the responsibility to campaign for the forum was not Warner’s, but the parties running.

Warner said she spoke at several seminars recommending each party to campaign and get the information out to the students about the candidate forum.

Warner participated in a public service announcement concerning the elections alongside Byll-Cataria that informed students of the candidate forum. Warner said she had been posting the announcement on students’ Facebook pages, as well as posting the video on SG’s Facebook page.

Warner said the parties will have table setup in the plaza Oct. 14.

Senate Initiatives
While the forum did not take place, The Spinnaker spoke with representatives from each party to gather the views of each party.

SG hopeful John Scorza, a UNF political science junior, said the Red Party has three initiatives: a “better distribution” of funding for clubs, improved homecoming and improved entertainment.

Fassi said the Red Party will work to get more funds for clubs to increase the boosts given to each club. The boost amount will be different for each club, he said.

Fassi said clubs like International Business Society and Students in Free Enterprise are particularly active.

“Some clubs that do more deserve more money,” Fassi said.

Each senator that gets elected will be involved in budget deliberations, Fassi said.

The members of the Red Party said they understand their proposed plan could be controversial and possibly upset some groups on campus.

“We haven’t worked out a system for who deserves it yet, but that’s one of the ideas we are throwing around,” Scorza said.

The Red Party also plans to improve funding for homecoming and entertainment events. Fassi said he would like to increase the number of tailgating events that occur.

“Our slogan is working to get back what you deserve,” Scorza said, “and we’re trying to put that in to terms as best we can.”

Fassi and Scorza said A&S fees will increase but the benefits will be apparent quickly.

“We want our A&S fee dollars to go to good use to see students noticing that ‘Wow, I paid for that, I’m excited because I paid for that,’” Fassi said.

Nelson heads the United Ospreys Party, initially started by former Student Body Vice President Mike Saathoff. The United Osprey Party is a young ticket consisting of 10 potential senators who Nelson says are highly energetic and involved.

Like the Red Party, the United Ospreys have three separate initiatives they hope to enact if elected to Senate.

First, the United Ospreys wish to create a free school supply station. The proposed 24-hour station would include free pens, pencils, Scantrons and more. Nelson hopes this would be a resource that could become a useful resource for students across campus.

United Osprey’s second “theological goal” is to represent each club fairly and equally in the Senate. Nelson, the former budget and allocations chair, said he saw many groups get unfair treatment and favoritism because they had friends on Senate.

Nelson said he wants to stop backdoor politics and shoot for a more unbiased look at the budget.

“Students are not united, [and] they’re not being equally represented,” Nelson said. “Certain groups are getting unfair treatment, and I think that’s something that will continue unless we get the right people into Senate.”

The third initiative is to create a stronger presence for athletics on campus. Nelson said this means more tailgates, more athlete introduction days and more cooperation between SG and the athletics department.

The independent party, which Charles Galanti fronts, is no longer running in the Senate race, as Galanti was unable to attend the forum and several of the meetings.

Galanti, a UNF psychology sopohmore, said he feels the planning of the forum could have been much better and that he didn’t receive notification until the day before the forum via text message.