Boca governor candidates debate issues facing Student Government

Five students talked parking, low event attendance, Greek life, and budget cuts, among other things.

Photo courtesy of Student Government

Photo courtesy of Student Government

Nate Nkumbu, Staff Writer

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Over 50 people attended Student Government’s third governor debate of the week Thursday.

Five candidates discussed their platforms ahead of February’s upcoming  campus-wide election. The Jupiter and Davie governor debates took place earlier in the week.

Prospective governors Chase Fitzgerald, Edward Peters, Kerete Paul, Luke Turner, and Tyler Bonney spoke at the event, held in the Majestic Palm Room. A sixth candidate, Michael Estrada, was not present.

SG graduate assistant Robert Marriaga moderated the debate and asked each governor three questions:

  1. What are some of the issues SG faces?
  2. How will you engage with the community?
  3. How will you get students involved in SG?

Candidates responded to the first question with a variety of issues they believe SG struggles with.

Fitzgerald talked about how students often see SG as tied to Greek life. According to the secondary social science major, they believe they have to be a part of a fraternity/sorority to be a part of SG.

“It’s kind of become a problem where people in high leadership positions are affiliated with Greek life when over 90 percent of the student population is not Greek life and every other candidate is affiliated with a Greek life organization,” he said.

Turner added that school spirit and lack of attendance at school events is a major issue.

“Working with Program Board, we will provide more opportunity to offer complimentary school merchandise as a way to encourage school participation,” he said.

For Paul, she believes the student body grapples with parking, school traditions, unity, and postgraduate development.

The candidate is talking to Parking and Transportation about turning Night Owls, a nighttime golf cart transportation service, into an all-day service instead.

“I know I have a budget for Night Owls. My plan is not to cut funding but to see where it’s being used the most and the least so I could makes cut with it,” she said. “Students have to walk 15 minutes to class from the parking lot, [with this change] they don’t have to drive around to find parking.”

During his speech, Peters said that as student governor, he would promote unity, involvement, and transparency.

“I want people to come together and be united under one voice,” he said. “I believe it starts with the proper press and the right people in the right position.”

Student Jada Bennett said that she was unimpressed by the candidate’s speeches.

“I felt that much of the candidates were very repetitive on what they had to say. One of them had three points, three issues that they used for each question when they were asked,” she said. “They didn’t expand into details, issue wise.”

Nayelli Diaz, along with her friends Deileen Garcia and Ashley Walker, said she feels the candidates are inexperienced and should have some prior knowledge of the system before running.

“We’re from FCC [the Freshman Class Council] and we work with the current governor [Der’Resha Bastien],” Diaz said. “One thing about the governor position and this is sometime that we heard from the current governor is that you don’t know everything, and by the end of the term is when you learn what’s really important.”

Bennett said, “Some of them, maybe most of them are trying to get their experiences now when they should have been building and transitioning into becoming governor.”

When asked who she favored for the position, Diaz said that Paul and Peters were the most passionate of the five.

“The two candidates, Edward and Kerete, you can clearly see that they are passionate, empathetic, and care about others feelings which is very important,” she said. “You can clearly see that everything that they said was coming from the heart and they were making eye contact with people.”

Voting for the governor seat will take place Feb. 27-28.

Nate Nkumbu is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @FoureyedNate.