Advertising to blame for lack of opportunity for comment at senator debate, SG deputy elections commissioner says

Mallory Pace, Government Reporter

Spinnaker received a comment from Student Government’s (SG) Deputy Elections Commissioner Ali Sartawi – after two weeks and more than four requests to both SG accounts and personal accounts – regarding the lack of opportunity for public questions at the senator debate on Oct. 25. 

After the 2022 University of North Florida (UNF) senator election became uncontested, nine of the 19 new senators being elected attended a senator forum where the public was encouraged to attend and ask senators questions.  

With a complete lack of audience members outside of SG, there was no explicit opportunity for public audience members to ask questions despite being advertised as such.

Deputy Elections Commissioner Ali Sartawi responded with a comment over text message, saying that those who attended the forum were staff and faculty from SG and no members of the public were there to ask questions. Spinnaker was in attendance for the forum.

Sartawi wrote that the reason for the lack of a public audience was that the event was advertised late and thus people didn’t have the opportunity to attend and have a discussion. He assured that in the future, SG would make sure that such events are advertised diligently so the public can be properly notified. 

“The people who attended the event were staff and faculty members and we had no members of the public there to ask any questions to begin with. The reason is because the event was advertised late and not many people had the opportunity to know that it is taking place for them to come and have a discussion,” Sartawi wrote in the text message. “For the future, we will make sure that such events are advertised diligently so that members of the public are notified beforehand and are able to come and ask all the questions they have. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and we always welcome the input of our UNF students and the members of our UNF community. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Elections and we will be happy to provide any information or assistance that is needed.”


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