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

UNIVERSITY PRESS

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

UNIVERSITY PRESS

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

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Who’ll Fit the Bill?

#1 Financing New Rec. CenterOverseeing the financing of the new campus recreation center is one of the first issues the new presidential administration will contend with. The current recreation center, which is financed by students activities and service (A&S) fees, costs $500,000 annually, to operate, but it is estimated that the new rec. center will raise operational costs to $1.2 million.

The obvious issue here is where the excess ($700,000) funds will come from. Will the budgets of clubs and agencies be cut and, if not, how do the candidates plan to deal with fulfilling the budgetary demands of the new rec. center?

All of the candidates agree that club funding should not be cut. “The last people to take the hit should be clubs, that’s what helps student retention, and without retention, we cannot collect A&S fees to help finance projects like these,” Teixeira says.

Instead of cutting funding to agencies and clubs, Teixeira suggests that a possible hike in A&S fees could significantly aid in the financing of the new rec. center.

“A&S fees [at FAU], though they may seem high, have actually been stagnant for a few years, and, in comparison with other universities in the state, are relatively low,” Teixeira says. “If we increase them by only $1 per credit hour, that would generate an additional $648,000 per year assuming we have an average of 27,000 students… that would definitely help us fund the new rec. center.”

Teixeira also thinks it’s a good idea to “skim off the top” of SG’s budget to come up with extra funds. And so does Joyner, who thinks that SG has “become too fat.”

Joyner and Teixeira agree that SG needs to examine its internal structure and possibly do away with jobs that are not needed as well as some of the “perks” – such as tuition reimbursement – that SG executives receive.

Torres, though, says he’s already been hard at work on cutting costs as a UWC representative.

“I was one of the first ones to ‘cut off the top’ [of SG] bymsuggesting dissolving the Presidential Administrative Cabinet (PAC),” Torres says.

Torres ultimately suggests a much different solution to funding the campus rec. center – one that doesn’t put the burden on the students, but rather, places it on Student Affairs and the University Administration.

“I think we need to sit down with administration and see if they can bring a little more to the table by way of funding – that would take the burden off SG and the students.”

#2 Improving SG’s ImageThe fact that SG has had a turbulent year is not going unnoticed by any of the candidates.

In fact, Joyner’s main platform is cleaning up the image of SG as quickly as possible. He says that his first directive as student body president would be to inform all members of SG that corruption will “not be tolerated.”

“I will immediately send out a contract to all members of SG that states they must abide by the rules of SG and not do anything to mar our image…we need to clean up our image and it should start at the top and work its way down,” Joyner says.Torres too says that corruption in his administration will not be tolerated. He points out that as a senator and UWC representative, he has repeatedly visited campus clubs and organizations to seek advice on how to clean up SG’s negative image.

Teixeira, though, has experienced first hand the corruption and lack of professionalism in SG – he was a part of last year’s presidential election debacle in which he won the general election but lost the run-off to former Student Body President Kirk Murray. The entire event left the university without a student body president for about 100 days and brought significant embarrassment on SG.

“I cannot allow what happened to me to happen again. SG will not be abusive and corrupt like it has been in the past,” Teixeira says. “The problem with SGs in the past is that there was such a small amount of people with power in their hands. With the new constitution, the power has been spread amongst SG and Student Affairs, and I will work to make sure these checks and balances stay in place.”

#3 Meeting Students’ NeedsAll three candidates agree that more needs to be done to get students interested and to help SG meet their needs. How they plan to accomplish this, though, is where the candidates differ.

Torres says that SG needs to continue providing activities and events for students. He points out that he has and will continue to tap into students’ interests by being visible around campus.”I was out every day this semester sitting in the Breezeway just asking students, ‘What can SG do for you?'” Torres says. “That’s what I will continue to do as student body president…it’s as simple as setting up a table with an SG banner behind it in the Breezeway and just talking to students, and finding out what they want most.”

Teixeira also points out that, though he was not a part of SG last semester, he is always a visible presence on campus. His suggestion, though, goes beyond promoting events and sitting and talking to students.

Teixeira calls SG’s Web site “nothing short of pathetic,” and suggests that making it more attractive would make students more willing to get involved with SG.

“We need a more interactive site that people want to go on,” Teixeira says. “Maybe there should be blogs or message boards…I mean people will check their Facebook accounts 30 times a day, but they’ll never look at the FAU site… it’s because they can’t find anything they want and the site is never updated. A good Web site will help tie in all students, since we live in the digital age where every student can relate to the internet.”

Joyner believes that to increase student involve-ment SG should, “ask students before we make decisions rather than make them and hope they agree.”

He says that students need to be asked what they want, and these desires need to be a focal point of the new administration. Sending regular memo’s to all members of SG would, according to Joyner help keep them alerted to the wants and needs of the student body.

#4 Working With Student AffairsSG’s new constitution places more power in the hands of Student Affairs, which means the new student body president will have little choice but to work with them if he is to be successful.

The candidates agree that working with Student Affairs will help the new administration do more for students, but, compared to Joyner, Teixeira and Torres are more willing to disagree with administrators if need be. And in light of Vice President of Student Affairs Charles Brown’s veto power over SG’s actions, this could be the source of major conflict.

Joyner says he wants to continue the “Austin Shaw tradition” of working cooperatively with Student Affairs. His focus is on working in the best interest of students and he says that if a conflict between SG and Student Affairs were to arise, he would exhaust all avenues to try to reach a compromise.

But he says that he would have no choice but to agree with administrators if they didn’t accept his action.

“I don’t see a veto occurring but if the situation were to arise, we’d have to accept the answer that we get,” Joyner says.Teixeira says that he too does not see a veto occurring, and has always advocated SG’s working with Student Affairs. He points out that Student Affairs officials are “people with doctoral degrees that we [students] aspire for,” and says he would be “remiss” not to work closely with them.

Though clearly valuing the input of Student Affairs, Teixeira shies away from Joyner’s more conservative approach to handling conflict with them.

He believes Brown always puts the best interest of the students first, but is quick to say that if a stalemate arose between SG and Student Affairs, he’d be willing to go over Dr. Brown’s head to solve the problem – especially if he felt he was acting in the best interest of students.

“As a representative of the students, I would have to exhaust all avenues,” Teixeira says. “I would go to the Board of Trustees, President Brogan and if need be the General Counsel… we’d have to come to a medium.”

Torres agrees that Shaw’s model of leadership should be followed. But like Teixeira , he says, “If something is in the best interest of the students, I will voice their concerns… I will do everything I can to work with Dr. Brown, but if I couldn’t reach a compromise…I would fight until the last dying breath [for students].”

#5 ParkingParking is an oft-discussed topic, especially on the Boca campus, but is rarely the focus of new projects (much to the dismay of many students). The candidates all take different stances on the parking problem ranging from reforming the current parking system to worrying about other “more important” issues.

For Torres, parking is a big issue, and he calls the situation on the Boca campus “horrendous.”

“One of the things I’ve focused on this past semester is parking,” Torres says. “I, along with my colleagues in the senate, went and talked to Dr. Jessel about traffic and parking, and we succeeded in changing the parking arrangements in the HBT and IRT lots.”

Torres is referring to the addition of more resident student parking in the lots of the HBT and IRT student dorms. He says he has also lobbied successfully for the removal of half the visitors’ spots – to be replaced by decal spots for students – in the Algonquin parking lot.

Joyner, a representative of the Jupiter and Port St. Lucie campuses, puts less emphasis on the parking at the Boca campus, and instead, focuses on the use of permanent decals by Traffic and Parking.

“I think permanent decals damage people’s cars, and plus, everywhere I drive, you can see that I’m an FAU resident student. And I believe that’s a safety issue.” Joyner says that, to avoid these problems, students should have hang tags like administrators.

Teixeira also stands out on this issue, in that he thinks there are bigger things for the new administration to worry about. “People throw around the idea of parking garages, but the reality is they cost several millions of dollars,” Teixeira says. “And for an SG that’s concerned with financing a new $1.2 million rec. center…there’s so much more than parking to worry about here.”

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