To whom it may concern

It has come to my attention that during consideration of next year’s budget, Student Government made the abysmal decision to withdraw FAU’s membership from the Florida Student Association (FSA). FSA is the only lobbying organization that currently represents 10 of 11 public universities in our state capital. This organization lobbies for student interests such as better funding of higher education, lower tuition and state programs like Bright Futures and the Prepaid College tuition program. The strength of FSA in lobbying government officials lies in its ability to speak for Florida’s college students. When a university leaves FSA, its ability to fight for students is immediately weakened.

But apparently, the University-Wide Council (UWC), including SG Presidential candidate Dan Wilson, felt that the students would be better served by leaving FSA in favor of getting FAU students to intern as lobbyists. While giving FAU students the opportunity to intern is certainly a good idea, it’s important to note that using interns instead of a professional organization like FSA leaves the student body without representation on the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors is a board that controls the administration of education throughout the state, much like the Board of Trustees oversees FAU. Also, similar to the Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors has a student representative which is the Chairman of FSA. With FAU no longer a member of FSA, the student representative on the Board of Governors will also no longer represent the students of FAU. Furthermore, the idea that a group of unregulated, unmonitored interns will provide better service to the students of this university than a full time lobbyist devoted to the public university system is ludicrous. The only university that utilizes this type of shared arrangement is the University of Central Florida and they do this on top of being a member of FSA and having their own professional lobbyist.

I find it absurd that Student Government can find the money to give themselves 25% pay raises, amounting to $46,000, but cannot be bothered to pay membership to an organization that protects its students’ pocketbooks, especially when it is these same pocketbooks that fund Student Government to begin with. I guess Alvira Khan, Dan Wilson and the rest of the UWC feel that it is more important to put money in their own pockets than to keep money in the pockets of students.

Mindy McLester

Prior Senate Speaker for the Jupiter Campus

2003-2004 Member of the University-Wide Council

Former Member of the Executive Board of FSA