War on two fronts

Kelly Tyko

Student Government campaign flyers are marked up and torn down every year, so presidential candidate Ancel Pratt was planning for it. At 11:25 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, Pratt was out on the Breezeway, videotaping each pillar of the walkway on the Boca Raton campus.

He was walking slowly, panning the camera up and down, capturing a before shot.

“If any of our flyers are defaced, then we’ll know,” said Pratt on the video. Pratt, who is the current student body vice president, said they also took the video to document that they didn’t remove others flyers “except for events that already passed.”

At midnight, Pratt and his ticket started putting up the posters. March 16 was the first day posters were allowed to be up for the campaign season. After they were all up, Pratt walked again pillar to pillar to document where the posters were.

The next night, the video camera was rolling again – one of Pratt’s posters had already been torn down.

On the video, people are seen pushing each other and cursing. Two non-FAU students started the fight.

One person admitted to tearing Pratt’s poster down and said it was because “I was upset. I didn’t mean to do that.” He then offered Pratt money to replace the poster.

Pratt replied, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the principle … Come on, show respect. You’ll never hear me say anything negative about anyone on your ticket.”

Copies of the video were turned into the elections’ liaison and the assistant dean of student affairs. An investigation is pending.

Flyers, flyers everywhere

A flyer ripped here, another there wasn’t the worse of the flyers’ defacement. Curse words and other derogatory terms covered many of the other ticket’s flyers.

One flyer had a beard and turban drawn on a candidate’s picture along with the words “Muslim.” Another had swastikas and said “Fuckin’ Jew.”

Alvira Khan, who is running for the position of Boca Raton governor, thinks the defacement is childish.

“It really upsets me because it brings me back to middle school,” said Khan. “The time and money that we put into this. To have them defaced, it’s just not fair. … It’s very kindergarten.”

With the country in war, it makes it worse, Khan said. “Especially during the heightened times of war that we now face. You don’t want to put people on edge.”

Senator candidate David Johnson agrees.

“We’re here at the university to come together as intellectuals and I think we can all learn from each other,” Johnson said. “I think definitely the words are much more insulting and upsetting [than in the past]. … At the end of the day, only the students are being hurt.”

The name calling of his running mates struck a nerve with presidential candidate Shawn Benyo. “I’m not Muslim and that made me mad. To see someone categorized like that.

“It’s an absolute shame. People are running for Student Government to help students. I think it’s a lack of respect for other people.”

The SG candidates aren’t the only students mad about the flyers on the Breezeway. Student organizations are mad too.

Stanley Joseph, who goes by the name “DJ Scoobz,” had many of his flyers for a party torn down.

“If you want the student population to vote for you, then you need to support them. Don’t rip down their flyers,” said Joseph.

“They need to work smarter not harder. I think people are going to get sick of the elections and not vote. It is really like a small political war.”

Going into the final stretch

The first candidate debate was on March 24 and not only was the audience small, but few candidates showed up to the debate, which started an hour later than scheduled.

While the presidential and gubernatorial candidates were present, only three out of 61 Boca Raton senator candidates participated in the debate.

Candidate Benyo repeatedly mentioned a “mismanagement of funds” within SG.

This elicited a response from Pratt.

“Mismanagement of money? I don’t see that. As the current vice president, I’ve asked you to bring any information to my attention. Is it mismanagement or that the money was not spent how you wanted it?” said Pratt, who also asked the moderator of the debate to have Benyo explain the “illegal activities.”

Benyo also said that if he’s elected one of the things he’d change is “Student Government will be working for the students. Student Government won’t be working for itself.”

Pratt listed off some of the accomplishments he and his ticket have done for the students this year. “We just were awarded the runner up for best Student Government in the state … We extended the library’s hours … we created the book vouchers program.”

While the debate was for the most part civil, current Student Body President Pablo Paez stayed out. One reason is because he’s “trying to stay away from the controversy.”

Paez said, “I don’t know the specifics but it’s upsetting that with an election, posters are defaced. We need to keep it clean and have a balanced and fair election.

“My take on it, is that people need to concentrate on winning votes based on their accomplishments and platform, not based on negative tactics,” said Paez, who is graduating in May.

Student Government elections will be April 1 and 2. Students will be able to vote online at www.fau.edu with a valid FAU email account. Or you can vote on campus on the Boca Raton campus at Fleming Hall, the Social Science Building, or on the Breezeway. More locations may be available. For more information, contact Student Government at 561/297-3740.