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SG Debate lays out prospective plans for Red, Gray and Blue parties

Student Government president hopefuls Matt Brockelman and Chris Warren discussed a number of issues March 8 in a debate at the Student Union Osprey Plaza.

Over 20 students attended. The candidates answered student-submitted questions as well as those presented by the moderator, Alex Read. Each candidate received 90 seconds to answer specific questions, with one minute allotted for a rebuttal.

Both candidates began by presenting their qualifications, including information about their parties’ missions. Red Party candidate Brockelman complemented current Student Body President Sitou Byll-Cataria in his administration’s efforts but said he wants to see changes.

“We feel it’s time to get UNF back to a Student Government that provides the tangible results, the things that you can feel and experience,” Brockelman said.

Gray and Blue party candidate Warren said the Gray and Blue Party has a diverse team that is passionate about making UNF a great school.

“If you want to make a club great on this campus, Student Government wants to make that happen for you,” Warren said.

Read opened the question portion of the debate by asking the candidates about getting commuter students involved with campus life. Brockelman said he wants to increase the amount of money clubs start out with each year to $600 — the additional funds could attract more students to events. Brockelman also wants to segment clubs according to their mission and create specialized advisory boards for each group of clubs.

Meanwhile, Warren said he wants to reach out to military veterans on campus and get them more involved in student activities and increase funds for clubs. Warren also wants to remove the restrictions of how students can use funds, which would allow them to pay for travel expenses such as gasoline.

Both candidates have plans to improve academics, as well.

Warren said he wants to create a school syllabus archive in order for students to see what is required for courses before they sign up for classes. He said he believes this will lower the add/drop rate and improve retention rates around the school. Students would be able to get into classes without worrying so much about waitlists.

“Students need to get into the classes they need [to graduate],” Warren said.

Brockelman has other plans for academics. The Red Party is pushing for the use of a mobile application for Blackboard, which would allow students easier access to the classroom tool using smartphones.

While both candidates agreed guns should not be on campus and there should not be a smoking ban, they disagreed on athletic funding.

Brockelman hopes to increase funding for the athletic program by taking advantage of the inevitable tuition raise by the state and school. Warren said he is against extra funding for the athletic program, and he would rather create a school spirit agency — for which he already has 600 student signatures — to increase vigor for school sports.

Other topics of discussion included parking, events on campus and club promotion.

When asked what their opponent’s strongest trait was, Brockelman said Warren has a passionate love for UNF. Warren said Brockelman has a strong knowledge of the SG Constitution.

Brockelman said he hopes students will stay informed about the upcoming elections and find out more about both parties’ platforms.

“Do your homework on both parties,” Brockelman said. “Don’t settle, get informed — because this election’s important, and the students really do have a voice here.”

For more information on the Red Party, go to facebook.com/votered. For information on the Gray and Blue Party, go to facebook.com/grayandblueparty.

The SG spring elections take place March 22-23.

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  • S

    StudentMar 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    @ Concerned,

    I’m honestly not a big fan of either candidates. I’m not greek so Red doesn’t really look appealing. I’m a non-traditional student, and this Gray and Blue party is fluff. And thats it! “School Spirit is great, School Spirit is important, School Spirit is necessary!” That’s all I hear them talking about! An agency thats going to take money away from OP, Volunteer Center, or Recreations to get people to losing basketball games is ridiculous. If there is ONE thing Red has going for them, its the Athletes behind them. Warren is talking a lot about helping the Collegiate atmosphere, but he’s doing it incorrectly. Fight songs, everyone knowing the alma mater, and pep ralleys will come! ONCE WE START WINNING!!!

    And this green osprey agency Red is talking about? No. Absolutely not.

  • I

    Informed VoterMar 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Dear Concerned Student,

    The Ludacris concert was cheap relatively speaking because UNF contracted him right before he had a HUGE price increase with the success of his latest album/tours. If you ask anyone on campus with experience of contracting big name artists, you will see that 500,000 is NOT a “skewing of facts.” OP has to request extra money for what the artists they already bring anyway. Ask yourself the following: When does a 2-3 hour concert’s cost begin outweighing its benefit? A lot of students don’t know that the extra money for a “bigger” concert would have to come out of a lot of other areas on campus.

    FYI, Red’s initiative is Blackboard Mobile Central, not Mobile Learn. How do I know? My friend has FSU’s version of this. It has way more features and is available to more than just Sprint or wifi iPhone users. Apparently the university has already agreed to fund it, too.

    Also, I don’t think the mobile shuttle tracker is a Red Initiative. All Brockelman said was that it could be integrated into the Blackboard app so it’s in one convenient place.

    So is Red skewing facts? Or are you skewing facts? Just some food for thought.

  • C

    Concerned StudentMar 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    All I’m saying is a “$500,000 concert” is not going to happen under Gray and Blue, and the Red Party knows that. There is no precedent for OP spending more than $70,000 (Ludacris). I agree that there are many agencies and departments that need funding, and I don’t expect a Warren administration would zero fund them for a concert. Concert costs probably would go up under Gray and Blue, but it is crazy that Brockelman would suggest it would go as high as $500,000. This is just one example of Brockelman skewing facts to get elected.

    Also, one of the Red Party’s initiatives is Blackboard mobile and a mobile shuttle tracker. These both exist (there is a UNF blackboard app on iPhones and Android systems), and there is an app already available for students to track the shuttle’s whereabouts (as advertised on the shuttle itself).

  • S

    StudentMar 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    @ Concerned Student,

    You’re absolutely right! Instead of funding the AASU, Women’s Center, Recreations, Club Funding, Club Travel, Child Development Resource Center, and the Volunteer Center, lets ZERO FUND THEM, and get a 2 hour concert just to be able to say we had Taylor Swift at UNF. Great idea. Actually, why don’t you run for Student Body President and dissolve the Senate and make the big financial decisions yourself?

  • C

    Concerned StudentMar 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Brockelman stated in the debate as a rebuttal to Warren’s plan for “bigger, better concerts” that this would be financially irresponsible. He said that SG has a $4 million budget, and spending $500,000 or 1/8 of the annual budget on “one event” was not a good idea. I would like to ask Brockelman or Red Party supporters to back up this claim, because there is no precedent for any college concert costing anywhere near “$500,000.” Go to concertideas.com (the source OP uses to find artists/bands) and you’ll see that the Red Party claim of a $500,000 concert by Gray and Blue is ridiculous. Red Party should not be allowed to get away with overdramatic, incorrect statements.