Open letter to FAU Student Government

Student government alumni weigh in on SG and the UP.

Photo courtesy of SG

Photo courtesy of SG

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Editor’s note: Authors Boris Bastidas and Patricio Coicou worked in FAU Student Government’s Legislative Branch in 2012. 

The following letter remains unedited and in its original form. 

We believe that Student Government is like a microcosm of any local, regional/state or national government. A system that we believe has allowed the most willing and aspiring to not only get involved in a government system but to understand it, or so it seems. As alumni we feel a need to assert our views on a current but actually very old topic. FAU has allowed for Student Government to pick the Editor in Chief of the University Press for too long.

Patricio Coicou, former House of Representatives Parliamentarian.

For years we have personally seen Student Government leaders engage in attempts to essentially punish the UP whether through their annual budget or through the blatant withholding of information. It has been the aggressive pursuit and passion of a many journalists that have kept the UP an award winning university outlet. Now we see a very blatant and most disturbing attempt to stifle the appointment of an Editor-in-Chief. On the one hand, we feel that it is of course paramount that the concept of the Freedom of the Press under the First Amendment as a principle, should be respected. Yet we almost laughingly admit that, well let’s face it, Student Government officials often fail to understand their own statues and constitution, nevermind the United States Constitution and it’s amendments or principles as aforementioned above.

Boris Bastidas, former House of Representatives Speaker.

FAU Administration should sever this particular connection between SG and the UP. We don’t see that as likely, but we see it as necessary. For as long as SG controls the UP’s funding, SG will continue to try and hold the UP “accountable.” But because the UP rightfully see’s their goal as being good and just journalists, they must hold SG accountable; well we think you get it. We obviously find this relationship quite ironic and can only laugh at it.

We hope that someway, somehow Student Media can still be funded by SG, but the UP already has a process that is already sufficient. The editor-in-chief to be is chosen by his/her peers and would have been part of the UP prior to the appointment. That means they would have already acquired the training necessary to run the UP and would have the nod from the student media director. While we know this is quite the far stretch, we still feel it would be somewhat of an upgrade over having the SG Senate approve the editor-in-chief. I think we can imagine the outrage we’d express if Donald Trump had the power to approve (or veto) the editor-in-chief of CNN.

At this point, we believe that the ship has sailed. Do not continue to allow Student Government to control the UP in this way. It is damaging to the University, to the Student Body, and yes, to Student Government itself.

Boris Bastidas, former House of Representatives Speaker

Patricio Coicou, former House of Representatives Parliamentarian