The SG Bunch

This year’s presidential election will be a lot different from the previous ones. For starters, it’s the first time a football player is running and instead of the usual two (sometimes three) candidates, there are four vying for the office. And two of the candidates are from the current student body president’s administration – his vice president and chief of staff. Here’s what the candidates had to tell the UP or – in one case – not tell them:

Tony Teixeira Tony Teixeira, the chief of staff for Student Body President Dan Wilson, places a lot of emphasis on how the Boca senate chose to allocate its money for the next year. “We’re disgusted with the fact that 60 clubs can be zero funded,” which he explains as “leaving the clubs without a dime to start next year with.” He didn’t have an answer as to why those clubs were zero funded only saying “no excuse can be good enough for zero funding an organization that has been in good standing for years.” One club he mentioned was the XXXHonor Scholars ClubXXX and according to him, they have 40 members, who all together pay about $4,800 in activity and service fees each semester. Teixeira says, “They paid in and they’re not getting a dime back.” He went on to say, “Student clubs should not have to beg. Clubs should not be put through the ringer. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for money. It’s your money you should get something out of it. You should be able to enjoy your A and S fees.” He also criticized the current administration saying that this past year has been “nothing super.” However, he applauded how Broward and the other campuses spent their money, saying they did “pretty good.” He’s running because as he says, “It’s a time for change.” As for his major opponent Kirk Murray, he says, “He has put a lot of years in SG. However, in all those years not much has been accomplished.” Still, Teixeira says it’s not in his character to smear anybody, “He’s a standing guy.” Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Teixeira’s campaign is his running mate. He chose Abe Cohen, the former director of lobbying that was removed from office about a month ago by Teixeira’s current boss, President Wilson. The reason: he allowed a non-student to go on a FAU-funded trip. However, Teixeira isn’t concerned about his choice or the controversy. Instead, he says, “Abe is experienced as a leader and he was dedicated in the senate and the PAC (the president’s administrative cabinet). He is definitely a student representative.” Cohen echoes Teixeira’s concerns over club funding and student involvement. “I want to see all clubs get funded,” he says. “We want to see more people involved.” Diana DeJesus, governor of the Boca campus, is supporting Teixeira. “I’ve seen Tony grow as a senator and as chief of staff,” she says. “He’s still prospered even under tumultuous times.” DeJesus also supports him because “he has new individuals on his ticket, and there needs to be fresh blood in Student Government.” However, Heather Boyer, senate speaker from Jupiter, says, “Tony is brand new and the President’s Administration Cabinet didn’t do anything great this year.” Kirk Murray

Kirk Murray didn’t have a lot to say about his bid for president because he blew off all his interviews with the UP – three to be exact. On Thursday, he said he would be available, but never returned any messages that were left for him. On Friday, after finally getting in contact with him via the phone, he said he would be in his office on two separate occasions – he wasn’t. At the end of the working day, the receptionist in the SG office said he hadn’t been in and he wasn’t planning on coming in. His Vice President Austin Shaw, however, was more than willing to talk. Shaw says, “Student Government needs to be reformed,” and they are the ones to do it. The platform he and Murray are running on is “SG has lost perspective. We have to make serious transitions in every respect financially and ethically,” Shaw said. He has serious concerns with the way SG has been handled over the past couple of years. Shaw says “SG is spending money on trips for themselves, holding secret meetings,” and he even accused them of “embezzlement,” while adding “that must stop.” Kelly Gladwish, governor of the Treasure Coast Campus, doesn’t believe Murray is up for the challenge. “I don’t think Kirk would benefit the students,” she said. She criticized him for not speaking up during meetings more often. “He only spoke up about three times during the 14-hour budget meeting,” and adds, “I don’t think he would speak up during the board of trustee meetings.” However, Sophia Barrett, senate speaker for the Broward campuses, disagrees. “So, I’m quiet during meetings too,” she says. “Do you need someone aggressive? Not necessarily.” But she does admit he still has things to learn. She went on to say, “I think Kirk has been doing a lot of Dan’s [Wilson] job.” Paul Lowe, the UWC representative for the northern campuses, didn’t criticize Murray’s leadership abilities, but instead the people on his ticket. “Originally I was going to support Kirk,” Lowe says. However he changed his mind after watching clips from a Boca senate meeting. “We saw blatant disregard of constitutional rights of the students and the senators by the senate speaker and the majority of the senate.”Lowe says Murray told him that 16 of those Boca senators are running on his ticket. And adds, “I cannot support that party.” As for those people on Murray’s ticket, Barrett says, “I think Boca has a lot of people who are arrogant and pushy. There are a lot of people in there for devious reasons.” However, she strongly supports Murray and applauds him for “visiting the other campuses.” She says Murray “has ideas,” and adds, “It’s just something he does.” More importantly though, he understands “what may be best for Boca may not be best for Jupiter,” she says. “He’s been the one who’s connected the campuses.”

Chris Holder

No one in SG had anything to say about engineering major Chris Holder, because no one knows who he is. Holder had a few things to say, but his speechwriter did a lot of the talking. When asked why he was running for president, Holder simply stated “why not.” He then went on to say, “We’re representing the engineering crowd because they’re not usually represented.” As for his experience, he admits he has “no SG experience,” but adds, “That’s a good thing. It doesn’t look like it helps anything.” His first response to the question of his platform was “none currently.” However at that point in the interview, his speechwriter, Mark Rajan, quickly discussed his platform with him. Then a minute or so later Holder announced, “We’re running on the platform of fair and balanced and equility.” Again, Rajan interjected and this time pointed out to Holder that equility wasn’t a word so he amended it to “equality.” Alex Boudreault, his VP, says he’s running with Holder “because he’s going to mess up without me.” When asked whether his candidacy was a joke, Holder said, “It’s not really that big of a joke. I’m exercising my opportunity to run for this office.” As for why students should vote for him, he says, “They should. I’m Chris and I’ll do the right thing.” But then he added, “Less paperwork for clubs.” Rajan says, “Chris is the ideal man for the job. He’s got ideas about all that red tape bullshit, and you can quote me on bullshit.” And then Holder threw in “paperwork sucks.” As for his opponents, Holder says, “I don’t know any of them. They all suck.” He says the slogan for his campaign is “I’m Chris and I’m looking for your help.” But when asked to explain that further he said, “You don’t really go into deep detail for the slogan. That’s what the slogan is for.” As the interview was wrapping up Holder had one last comment. “We didn’t have time to prepare for these questions, the elections are moving too fast.”

Dewain Akerblom

Dewain Akerblom, the first football player to ever run for president, says he will “work hard for you on and off the field.” He’s running for president because he wants to “promote campus unity and move the students away from the mindset of a commuter campus, to getting more involved.” He adds, “SG needs to start working as a team and we need SG united before we can have a united school.” Kathleen Boss, his VP and the only woman on any of the presidential tickets, states, “How good is this team.” She says, “What I think makes us different is our diversity. We have a male and female, a Greek and non-Greek, and an athlete and non-athlete.”Boss adds that she “has a lot of SG experience” from high school. Akerblom says, “For what I lack in SG experience, Kathleen makes up for it.” Akerblom has already attended the last two University Wide Council meetings to familiarize himself with the process. He does acknowledge that being a football player will take up a lot of his time. But still he insists that he would be able to do the job. He says his coaches are very supportive of his decision to run. Since he is a long snapper on the team – the player who snaps the ball back to the punter – he points out that his position has more flexibility. Akerblom says that being on the football team is actually a benefit. He says it will give him regular opportunities to interact with President Frank Brogan because he travels with the team to all of the away games. He says students should vote for him because, “I know how to get people to work on and off the field.” He plans to win the election by visiting all of the campuses and through “word of mouth.” And also, “By marketing and advertising and getting our name out there,” Boss adds. Even though he has no SG experience and he is politically unknown, Akerblom still says, “I think we have a pretty strong chance to win.” So how does SG think its elections will turn out?

Dan Wilson, the current student body president believes “It will be a tight race,” and predicts that there will be a runoff election this year since there are four candidates. Heather Marshall, senate speaker for the Treasure Coast Campus, says, “I am just glad it’s going on. I think it’s going to be a good election.” However, Sophia Barrett, the senate speaker for the Broward campuses, says that this year’s elections are “going to be interesting. I hope it doesn’t get bloody but I’m not going to put on my rose-colored glasses.” Student Body elections will be taking place on Tuesday April 18 and Wednesday April 19.