Student Government holds Boca governor debate

Platforms for all the candidates focused on safety and student recreation.


Around 30 people attended the governor debate Wednesday. Photo by Sophie Siegel

Israel Fontoura, Contributing Writer

On Wednesday, Boca Governor candidates, Representative Javier Bravo, Director of Multicultural Programming Elijah Colas, and Alexander Zand gathered for the Boca Raton gubernatorial debate. The hour-long debate is the first time all candidates can gather to expand on their platforms before campus-wide voting, later this month.

Moderated by House Speaker Noah Goldberg, the candidates were asked a series of questions about why they should be the next campus governor.

The kick-off

Rep. Bravo, a junior finance major has served in Student Government as a House member for over a year and is currently a resident assistant at IVA South. He describes that if elected, he will work towards free products, such as free printing and free menstrual products. Rep. Bravo also wants to work by beautifying the campus.

“We want to make our campus more enjoyable for students to be at,” he said. 

Colas, a junior public administration major and the Director of Multicultural Programming also served as a House member last semester. Because he is a commuter, he says he understands students’ busy schedules.

Zand, a sophomore double majoring in communications and political science, is the external philanthropy chair of Alpha Epsilon Phi. Zand’s platform includes expanding student opportunities, strengthening school safety, and modernizing campus amenities. As a Marjory Stoneman Douglas alum, he wanted to make a change.

“By making our school safer, it’ll make everyone’s experience more enjoyable,” he said.

Why do you want to be governor?

Colas said he felt a personal calling to serve students.

“I originally was not going to run for governor, but when you sit in certain positions of leadership on campus, there’s certain things you can’t ignore,” he said. 

Colas believes his experiences add on to why he believes he is the best fit to be governor. “I have a heart for our campus,” Colas said. “We are a diverse campus.”

After losing his friend Alex Schachter and mentor Aaron Feis, he wanted to make a difference: “I made a promise to myself, for them, that I will do my part to ensure that students are safe wherever they go,” he said.

Zand also began with a moment of silence for victims of the Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Bravo did not want to run initially, but after seeing who was running, he decided to “step up.”  Bravo has also been involved with SG and has written legislation.

“Our next campus governor should be a person with the knowledge, with the passion for service, with the perseverance to see things through,” Bravo said.

Zand says that despite not being a member of Student Government, he holds other leadership positions on campus.

“I believe I am a very good representative for the student body, and I believe I will be the voice that students need,” he said.

Zand is a member of Owls for Israel and the Jewish Student Union.

What is a major issue you see on campus and how would you handle it?

Zand wants to work “hand-in-hand” with FAU PD to make campus safer. He says “students don’t feel safe walking around campus at night.” Zand believes it’s essential to extend Night Owls’ (a program that offers on-campus rides to students at night) operating hours to make sure students are safely getting to their destinations.

Bravo’s main issue is with parking.

“Time and time again, administration gives us the same response. ‘We don’t have a parking problem, we have a convenience parking problem,’” he said.

If elected, he wants to create a program where students can appeal their parking citations through the governor’s office.

Colas says the most pressing issue is student hunger and homelessness. He says there is a “malfunctioning food bank” on campus, explaining that before students can obtain food help, they must have a faculty reference, then they are sent off-campus to receive it without transportation. He says he’ll achieve this by partnering with local supermarkets for non-perishable donations.

The debate opened up to public forum, where students could voice their concerns

Gabby Miernik, president of Lambda Alpha Lambda and a representative in the House, asked about the LGBT community on campus, saying they are underserved.

Colas wants to make sure LGBT organizations on campus request funding from the Council of Student Organizations.

“They will be represented,” Bravo said of the LGBT community. He believes that Multicultural programming has failed them and he hopes to bring back the Pride Parade.

Zand said he does not have a great understanding of LGBT groups but wants to “sit down” with these groups to see what he can do.

Simone Stewart, director of purchasing for FAU National Organization of Women, asked about what the candidates will do about the abortion protests every semester and the weekly preacher that comes on campus.

Colas responded by saying he wants to get student feedback, because “Hearing student voices is going to be really important.” He wants to encourage students to be vocal about free speech on campus.

Zand agrees with Colas, suggesting that students could “protest the protester.”

Bravo says, “What I heard were the two candidates defending the aggressor.” He does not agree with the anti-abortion protests, calling it “unacceptable.”

Elections will open at midnight on Feb. 26 and close Feb. 27 at 11:59 pm on Owl Central.

You can watch the debate here.

Israel Fontoura is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email at [email protected].