What do we pay the Vice President to do?

What do we pay the Vice President to do?Student Government Vice President Tells All

The misconception by many is that vice presidents on both the national and university levels exist only to replace the current president in time of crisis or death. As a result, the vice president is sometimes looked over as a useless and unimportant figurehead in decision making. Apparently, the new Student Government Constitution at FAU has improved the power of the Vice President and has even granted him a budget of his own.

Some will be surprised by what FAU’s Student Government Vice President, Abe Cohen, tells the UP about his day to day responsibilities and the many faucets in which he can improve the university on his own. The 20 year-old Marketing and Finance Major is on his third year at FAU and is hoping to change not only the face of FAU but its pride as well. UP:When did you first become involved in Student Government and why?Cohen: I set goals for myself when I came to FAU and decided that I wanted to become involved. I first became coach at the Heritage Park Towers and helped form the HPCC (Heritage Park Community Council) which further lead to my involvement with student affairs. In my freshman year, Spring 2005, I discovered I could become a Senator (now the House of Representatives) and I joined in Summer 2005. I wanted to be involved, so not only did I take notes for students with disabilities, but I also joined Student Government so that I could do more and help all students.

UP As the Vice President, what exactly is outlined as your position and what are you officially in charge of? Cohen: With the change of constitution, we still do not have everything in place, but as of right now I am the president of the university wide senate in which there is a total of nine members. I am also the Chair of the University Wide Budget and Appropriations Committee (UWBAC) which funds university wide agencies. Anything that the president feels he needs help with, I assist him as well as filling in for him if anything were to happen. I also control a personal budget exclusively for the vice president with which I can use in any way I feel is right for the students.

UP So how much money are you allotted with this budget?Cohen: The vice president is allotted $5,000 per semester. The Vice Presidents budget was not depleted last semester, so I will be using the rest of that money as well.

UP Is there anything you plan on doing with that money and if so, what are your plans?Cohen: I definitely plan on using that money and the first thing I will do before the summer is over build tradition on campus as me and Tony mentioned in the debate. We want to fund a club which has just started by Rick Smith called “The Foul Owls.” It’s basically FAU students against students wearing apparel from other universities. From last semester’s VP balance, I will buy FAU apparel. The “Foul Owls” will then walk around the FAU campus and ticket people who are wearing different university apparel other than FAU logoed items. These tickets will then allow the students to do two things. First, students will be aware of where the student government office is and secondly, their non-FAU apparel will be replaced with FAU gear and as a result, there will be more tradition and students will be more FAU oriented. The other university apparel will then be donated to Good Will.

UP If you were to consolidate your day-to-day schedule as Vice President, what would that entail other than the regularly scheduled Thursday House of Representative Meetings?Cohen: If there were 8 days in a week, I would be working every one of them. Although it doesn’t sound like I do anything, everyday there is something to do. Just the budget meeting, for example, took nine hours. There’s different things going on everyday as well. Tony and I have an “open door” policy and although everyone always says they do, we really utilize it. Students come to me and Tony all the time with concerns about the University. With the statutes not being approved yet, Tony and I have to make a lot of decision making on what positions are necessary with the available budget. Because we have no assistants, we are forced to type up applications for jobs, sit through interviews with different students, and talk to administration about upcoming events. We are also required to attend these events and organizations while remaining visible on campus all day long.

UP So by remaining visible, where could a student then find you?Cohen: I am always in the breezeway, library, BU building, and occasionally the IRM, but there’s not a lot of students there. Me and Tony sometimes walk around together and talk to random students about issues on campus. Not only do we walk around the Boca Campus, but all the campuses where we talk to governors and students to see how everything is going.

UP There is a rumor among students that the administration is taking over the Student Government and that it has too much control. How do you feel about this issueand how will you use the Administration during your time in office?Cohen: There is this misconception that students think the Administration is overpowering and using the Student government as puppets. It’s not like that at all; in fact it’s actually the opposite. Now with the administration being a little more involved, it takes away the corruption from before and stops SG students from feeling they are more powerful than they really are. Money was not allotted fairly to groups in the past and now with the administration; it will give a fair chance to all organizations to gain money. The administration does not tell us what to do. It’s our money and our student government so we see what goes on. They’re not there to tell us what to do or push us around.

UP There has been a lot of student discussion about Tony’s mention in the debate about a dollar increase in A&S fees for things students hope will happen; such as another parking garage. How do you feel about this raise and has there been any further discussion on the subject?Cohen: Tony was not suggesting that we will raise A&S fees rather; he was using the dollar example as a possibility for gaining funds. There is no money available for such productions as a parking garage but if that’s what students want and we were to raise the money, we could definitely do something like that.

UP Will you be taking any type of survey(s) among concerned students to face these issues and find out what students want the most out of student government?Cohen: Absolutely, but what we’ve been doing is speaking to actual students about these issues and we’ve been talking to people to introduce what student government is and how it can help people. It’s a great resource and talking to people is our survey of what students want at the moment. As far as writing a written survey, I don’t think students would spend the time as they run to class to actually fill out the surveys. Even when we were encouraging all students to vote, we were only able to reach 1,700. Sitting down to fill out a survey would probably produce little feedback compared to our open-door policy.

UP President Tony Teixeira considers himself liberal in his political views; what direction do you lean towards on the political spectrum?Cohen: I’d sway more towards the Conservative side myself.

UP Do you think that your opposing view affects joint decision making?Cohen: Not at all. In fact, I think it makes it better and since we have two views at all times, we end up supporting everyone in every decision.