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.


FAU students pay for Student Government, but don’t vote

Regina Kaza

Students pay the elections board chair $8,100 to try and get them to vote in the Student Government elections, and over the past three years none of them have been doing their job.

Out of almost 30,000 students, only 2,000 voted for SG president and vice president in the past three years. New Elections Board Chair Kevin Varela thinks candidate interviews on Owl Radio and Owl TV, along with banners hanging in the Breezeway will do the trick and raise the voter turn out. That’s not likely to happen.

His salary comes out of A&S fees that are included in students’ tuition. Even though everything in SG from the president and VP’s salaries to Homecoming is funded by students’ tuition, they just don’t seem to care about voting.

FAU students don’t even have to get out of bed to vote for their SG leaders. All they need to do to vote on Feb. 28 and 29 is log onto www.myfau.fau.edu, click the “vote” tab, and make their choice. “The online voting saves a lot of paper, saves a lot of time, and it’s easy,” Varela said. “I used to be in that category of people who were too lazy to vote, but all it takes is two seconds.”

New Elections Board Chair Kevin Varela is using Student Media to promote the SG elections on Feb. 28 and 29. Photo by Charles Pratt.

Varela had six weeks to prepare for the spring election when he got the job in January. Since then he asked Owl TV and Owl Radio to get on board by interviewing the candidates and they agreed. Varela planned to have a meet and greet for students before the debate on Feb. 20 in the Grand Palm Room in the Boca campus Student Union. Varela will also make a banner counting down the election to hang up in the Breezeway.

Owl TV will upload interviews of the candidates on their YouTube and Facebook pages. The issue with this is that, according to Station Manager AJ Jordat, Owl TV’s YouTube and Facebook videos only get about 200 views, while election interviews get 400-500 views. But there are 29,000 students at FAU that can vote.

Owl Radio interviewed the candidates in their studio on Friday, Feb. 10 and broadcasted the talks live in the Breezeway. Most of those listeners are walking to and from class and not stopping to tune in to who their next SG president and VP might be. Since Owl Radio does not have a local frequency station, the Breezeway is their main source of listeners, which is not enough to convince students.

“All I want to see is for the candidates to show their faces and who they are. I want to see them leave a good impression and actually go out to the students and ask what they can do to help us FAU students,” Dwayne Robinson, sophomore education major, said.

If students still feel this way, maybe it’s time for the elections board chair to think of some new ways to target voters by doing more than just hanging up a banner in the Breezeway or posting videos on Facebook. Besides, students are paying him for this anyway.

Alejandra Parada contributed to the reporting of this story.

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    Stephen JonesFeb 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    The elections commissioner’s job is not to get people to vote, but rather to be an unbiased third party ensuring a free and fair election. This article is factually inaccurate. Generally speaking the Elections commissioners encourage voting but it is not their purpose.

    below is section 305 of the statutes illustrating the purpose of the elections board

    Chapter 305.000 305.100
    305.200 305.300 305.400 305.500
    University’s Regulations and policies governing both Temporary and Student Employees.
    Duties of the Chair of Elections
    Supervise the Elections Board members in accomplishing the requirements specified in this Chapter.
    Maintain twenty (20) weekly office hours, five (5) of which must be in the Elections Office itself.
    Maintain files containing any and all pertinent information related to elections.
    Submit an oral and/or written report to the Student Senate at each Senate meeting held prior to and throughout the election period.
    Hold Elections Board meetings at least weekly throughout the elections period to train, supervise, and delegate election related tasks to the Elections Commissioners.
    305.800 305.900
    Review, and if needed, submit a list of revisions to the Election Statutes as legislation to the Student Senate within one (1) month following each election.
    Maintain candidate information and submit to the SG Advisor for eligibility determination and posting to the SG Elections webpages and in all SG Offices.
    Preparation of the Ballot with the support of the SG Advisor.
    Tabulation and posting of unofficial election or referendum results to the SG Elections web pages and in all SG Offices with the support of
    304.710 All Student Government employees are considered Temporary Student Employees and are bound by the
    305.510 Elections Board meetings are subject to Florida Sunshine Law and twenty-four (24) hours public notice must be given.
    Chapter 306.000 306.100
    the SG Advisor no later than 12:00 p.m. on the afternoon following an election or referendum.