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

Green Mann banned from campus

NEWS

Michael Buonaiuto, the FAU student also known as Green Mann, was taken into custody by FAU police on Feb. 22. Now, until March 2, he will only be allowed to be on campus to attend classes or to be in the library, Buonaiuto said.

“I cannot comment on the situation that occurred yesterday on the Breezeway,” said the public communication major. “Michael Buonaiuto is currently on probation.”

The incident occurred around 1 p.m.

Buonaiuto was dressed in his green spandex suit with a “Vote Puch!” T-shirt campaigning for student body president candidate Christopher Puchferran in the Breezeway when two FAU police officers tapped Buonaiuto on the shoulder and told him to accompany them, according to Puchferran and Buonaiuto.

“I said, ‘He’ll be back in 10 minutes,’ and so after 10 minutes he didn’t come back,” Puchferran said. “We still don’t have a reason as to why he was removed from the Breezeway yesterday. Green Mann was in my sight 90 percent of the time and I can tell you that he didn’t do anything wrong.”

Puchferran believes the reason for the reprimand, which was issued by the Division of Student Affairs, could be an alleged incident two weeks ago.

“There was a report that [Green Mann] was in a building two and a half weeks ago, but when we asked for that police report, they were unable to produce it, they don’t have it,” Puchferran said.  “We are not entirely sure, we are trying to get to the bottom of it.”

Last November, Buonaiuto received a student referral due to numerous past complaints about his behavior. In one particular incident, Buonaiuto interrupted a class and started dancing in his green spandex suit for the students.

On the other hand, the other presidential candidates, who think Puchferran is using Green Mann’s popularity to gain votes, feel rather happy about the whole situation.

“When you are campaigning and you have a follower such as Green Mann, it’s much easier to garner votes using trickery,” said current Student Body President Ayden Maher,who is looking for re-election. “It is an unfair advantage and if that’s the case, that he’s banned, I think it makes it a more equal race for all the candidates involved.”

Maher referred to a dancing marathon that Green Mann advertised on his Facebook page.

In the Facebook post, Green Mann said he will dance for a certain number of hours, depending on how many votes Puchferran receives.

“I do think that such a thing is bribery, especially when the ticket of Puchferran has not offered any platform or any goals or any vision for the students,” Maher said. “I also think that to use someone as Green Mann because he lacks all that to garner attention and to garner votes is truly unfair and it’s kind of sad in a way.”

Current Boca governor and presidential candidate Allison Gentry had similar words about Puchferran’s campaign.

“It’s almost the equivalent of having the official FAU mascot campaigning,” Gentry said.

But Puchferran said he’s playing by the book. He has reviewed the statutes and said that there’s nothing that impedes him from having Buonaiuto campaign for him.

“I don’t think it’s any different than having any other student,” Puchferran said. “I don’t think this is bribing in any way. If I was giving everyone a ticket to a private show to watch Green Mann dance, then that’s bribery.”

According to Student Government statutes , “No candidate, ticket or individual shall commit or attempt a bribe.”

Florida statutes, which candidates also have to abide by, provide a more detailed definition: “No person shall directly or indirectly give orpromise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote.

“Any person who violates this subsection is guilty ofa felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. However, this subsection shall not apply to the serving of food to be consumed at a political rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as a political advertise­ment, including a campaign message designed to be worn by a person.”

For his part, Buonaiuto said it was never his intention to use Green Mann as a political tool when he started dancing in the green spandex suit on campus back in August of last year.

“It was a social experiment,” Buonaiuto said. “I knew that if I put on a suit I could engage myself with other students on campus and it grew into a common interest with students, and from there it grew into an unofficial FAU mascot.”

He said that only after being ineligible to run for student body president himself due to his low grade point average, he decided to support his long-time friend Puchferran.

“There’s so much I like in Chris’ platform that if I need to be specific I would say the second library entrance, the leak-free Breezeway, bringing together more social events,” said Buonaiuto, who went to the same church as Puchferran back when they were in middle school. “I truly do believe that Chris Puchferran is the man for that position.”

Dean of Students Corey King, who had told the Sun-Sentinel on Feb. 19 that Buonaiuto was a good influence for FAU, maintained his position despite being the dean in the Division of Student Affairs that issued the reprimand to Buonaiuto.

“Generally, this student has had a positive impact on the campus environment.  He does promote student activity and involvement at FAU. I have observed that many students enjoy having him as a part of the university community,” King said via e-mail.

Gentry believes that to avoid inconveniences, there’s only one thing to be done: amend the statutes.

“I’m sure in the future when they revise the statutes, they’ll cover this,” Gentry said.

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