Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Business As Usual…So Far

Last year’s election for student body president was so botched that SG screeched to a halt and, as a result of the controversy surrounding the election, FAU President Frank Brogan threatened to withhold SG’s entire $6.5 million budget.

This year administrators and SG’s top leaders are optimistic that history will not repeat itself. However, with no approved election rules and no clear job descriptions for the candidates, SG and administrators may be setting themselves up for a disaster.

“I think we’re in great shape,” Student Body President Austin Shaw says. “I haven’t seen one thing that’s a major red flag.”

Neither Shaw nor SG’s adviser Lisa Bardill, associate dean of Student Affairs, believes that having no approved election rules will be a problem. A draft of the election statutes has been written, but at the time of this article it is yet to be approved.

Shaw says that though the election process is going well so far, there should be some guidelines approved by the election.

Bardill, though, is more cautious. She anticipates the possibility that the election could be disputed because the formal election statutes have not been approved. However, in order to prevent that, administrators and the elections commission are considering having the candidates sign a waiver that would prevent them from disputing the election based on the lack of approved election guidelines.

The election statutes aren’t the only ones that need to be finalized though. In fact, there are no statutes in place, which means that most of the candidates running in this election won’t know what their job descriptions are until after they take office. The new constitution provides the framework, but the details are in the yet-to-be-approved statutes.

While Shaw understands it might be “unusual” and “awkward” to run without a clear definition of the job, he says that the constitution provides enough information to the candidates.

“It’s only the day to day operations that haven’t been spelled out,” he says.

Bardill doesn’t see this as a problem either since most of the candidates have been involved with the rewriting of the constitution and the statutes. According to Bardill, there shouldn’t be a problem with the elections as long as the candidates are “running with good intentions.”

There may be a different set of obstacles to overcome with this set of elections, but one thing is obvious this time around – rather than butting heads, SG and administrators are working together.

“SG leadership has definitely stepped up more this year with the election process,” says Bardill.

She says SG worked closely with Student Affairs and has been more collaborative than last year. And she’s right.

This year’s elections supervisor has willingly sought the advice of SG’s advisers and made it a point to cooperate with them-unlike last year’s elections supervisor, Sloane Schames, who simply avoided or ignored Bardill’s phone calls. At one point during an elections commission meeting, Schames even threatened to have an administrator escorted from the room for simply whispering to Bardill.

And rather than trying to smooth the tensions between Schames and administrators, SG leaders at the time only further inflamed them by routinely pointing out that SG’s elections were none of Student Affairs’ business.

The previous election rules stated that the elections commission would be independent from administration’s influence. SG leaders used that rule to attempt to prevent SG’s advisers from, well…advising.

Those antics have yet to take place this year, and no one is expecting them to.

“I’m very pleased,” says Shaw, who shares the feelings of many administrators and SG leaders.

But still, only time will tell.

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