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UNITE WINS IN CLOSE RACE

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Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 2:11 am

Capping off an election with historic voter turnout, the Unite Party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates won with 50.27 percent of the vote.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 10,644 students voted — the highest turnout since 1983, when 12,191 students cast ballots.

Unite Party presidential candidate Tj Villamil and vice presidential candidate Sabine Justilien won the president-vice president ticket by 114 votes over Students Party presidential candidate Alex Cornillie and his running mate, Jesse Schmitt.

Juan Rodriguez , Unite Party candidate for treasurer, won with 53.65 percent of total votes over Carly Wilson.

A majority vote is needed to win a position, and the election codes do not list a need for a recount unless no candidate captures a majority of the votes.

Villamil gave a short speech to his supporters.

"This wasn't victory for me," he bellowed. "This wasn't a victory for Juan and Sabine. This was a victory for students."

Supervisor of Elections Toni Megna announced the results to supporters of both political parties outside the Reitz Union's Orange & Brew around midnight Wednesday.

She had to scream to be heard above the crowd.

Megna declined to comment on a reason for the turnout increase.

Students Party vice presidential candidate Schmitt attributed the increase to his party.

"No one has ever done what we've done, and I think all of campus recognizes it," he said.

Justilien applauded the strength of all the candidates.

"It was really close because you had legit candidates," she said. "[Students Party candidates] had a firm backing, and I really support them."

UF students had two days to vote for representatives to the Student Senate and the executive SG offices.

Both parties nominated candidates for Student Body President and Vice President, who are on one joined ticket, as well as candidates for Student Body Treasurer.

Each semester, 50 new senators are elected.

Unite Party nominated 49 candidates for Senate, and the Students Party nominated 34 candidates.

Two students ran independent from either political party.

Unite won 31 Senate seats and the Students Party won 19.

Supporters and candidates from both parties campaigned from Feb. 1 until the end of the elections at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Some controversy surrounded the elections.

"I think it was a dirty year with sensationalized media, but students didn't listen to it," said Unite Party spokeswoman Christina Bonarrigo. "They listened to the Unite Party, and they knew what we were about."

Megna said 14 complaints were filed by the deadline, which is before elections results are read.

Two complaints were already handled, and one against the Students Party was postponed. It will be heard by the Supreme Court on Sunday.

Eleven complaints were filed Wednesday, 10 by the Students Party against the Unite Party and one by the Unite Party against the Students Party.

The Election Commission already recommended the disqualification of the three Students Party engineering Senate candidates.

Any decisions made by the commission can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

It also recommended that engineering students' votes for the Students Party executive ticket not be counted.

The Supreme Court will meet Sunday to make the final ruling on this as well as any other appeals the Students Party makes.

The Election Commission will meet Friday to hear the rest of the complaints.

"We'll have to wait and see on Sunday," Cornillie said.

A referendum to add two justices to the UF Supreme Court passed with 82.49 percent of the vote.

There are currently four justices in addition to the Supreme Justice.

Students were not required to vote on the referendum; they could have chosen to abstain.

Welcome to the discussion.

20 comments:

  • hazelnut03 posted at 9:32 pm on Mon, Feb 27, 2012.

    hazelnut03 Posts: 1

    TJ looks like he is going to eat someone. Isn't anyone else terrified? I am.

     
  • LedZep91 posted at 7:19 pm on Fri, Feb 24, 2012.

    LedZep91 Posts: 8

    GatorBlue89: It's interesting that you said "Students Party slaters" because I've found only people in SG (party people) use that terminology. I always found it humorous that Unite folks get all up and arms about people TALKING about the corruption we all know about. Yet they don't have a problem with actually being a part of the corruption. I guess the difference is that one of those things stands in the way of their personal gain and the other does not. They may get their entitled "leadership" positions, but I don't see how a true leader can either participate in (or look the other way to) such clear ethical problems. Indeed, Unite causes the Greek vs. Non-Greek tension because Unite tends to make all Greeks look bad by association. Its pretty unfair to every student that they have to deal with this nonsense at their school.

     
  • GatorBlue89 posted at 10:31 am on Fri, Feb 24, 2012.

    GatorBlue89 Posts: 3

    I really don't like stereotypes and I think the whole Greek vs Non-Greek argument just causes divide between people on campus. I'm not Greek myself and usually never voted for Unite in the past. However, this year I decided to actually talk to each of the candidates on a personal level at Turlington and ask them questions that were pertinent to me and the student body as a whole. I honestly felt like Unite party answered all of my questions and would actually be accessible to minority and small student orgs. The students party slaters would tell me that we need to "beat the system" and most of the talk was negative campaigning about Unite. I also didn't think they had enough experience as a whole. At the end of the day, I voted for the candidates that I thought were the most qualified. Not by their party affiliation or any other bias.

     
  • LittleFoot posted at 1:22 am on Fri, Feb 24, 2012.

    LittleFoot Posts: 20

    Can someone in the psychology department psychoanalyze the greek system? I seriously think some groundbreaking finds can come out of it. How are they so oblivious to it all??? Or are they really just trolling everyone? Someone please explain.

     
  • GoGators92 posted at 9:41 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    GoGators92 Posts: 2

    I love how y'all turn this into a greek vs. non-greek issue when the leader of the student party was greek. Just saying. Also, next semester you should change your party name to the Occupy party, I've heard that's pretty popular.

     
  • rainman posted at 7:02 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    rainman Posts: 2

    SG elections are too predictable. Unite gets around 5200 votes every year regardless of turnout because there are 5200 Greek students.

    The more people who vote, the lower percentage Unite wins by. It is in there interest to minimize voter participation because they will lose if there are over 11,000 votes. that is why we do not see online voting.

    This quote is stupid:
    "I think it was a dirty year with sensationalized media, but students didn't listen to it," said Unite Party spokeswoman Christina Bonarrigo. "They listened to the Unite Party, and they knew what we were about."

    are you kidding? the same 5000 frat kids who vote for you every year voted this year. theres no students listening to you except the frat herd who votes as usual because they are required to eat

     
  • Roosevelt posted at 5:45 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    Roosevelt Posts: 56

    @Simply Stated, first: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/36ac38/

    I doubt your ability to make judgement on the future of journalism until you prove to me that you have at least a basic command of the english language.

    In case you missed the financials You Got Served is posting everywhere The Alligator is still turning a profit. Has it probably had to adapt to a changing market place? Of course, but so has every paper in the country.

    Judging by your atrocious grammar I'm going to make the safe assumption that you don't read many newspapers. Since you don't I will inform you that most editorial boards in the United States endorse political candidates. Every opinionated piece over the last few days has been clearly housed in the editorial section or as a column.

    Also, there are already two competing journalistic opportunities in Gainesville for aspiring writers. The first, of course, being UF's version of FOX News, The Odyssey. The Second, while not an official campus paper, is the Gainesville Sun, which runs a University section.

    Moving the paper solely online would be a huge detriment to this campus as online readership has yet to pass print circulation (estimations based on Alexa ratings to Paper circulation). Your answer to this would surely be "SEO" unfortunately if no one is searching SEO doesn't mean anything.

    Student's won't sit quietly if you try to squelch freedom of the press. Look at this election. Piss off the paper and over 10,000 people come out and vote. Since Greeks are required to vote who do you think accounts for all the added voters? I think the close margin speaks for itself.

    Before you post your response, please visit this website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
    and take some time to learn english. :)

     
  • Simply Stated posted at 5:09 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    Simply Stated Posts: 3

    OK Roosevelt.....Here is how to accomplish the "Mission"....as well as the reasoning and the Purpose.

    The teaching Opportunity for Students, by itself to provide for a Competitive "On Line" newspaper would be favorable to the UF Student Body. Monitored, but not controlled by the Campus. Monitored means that it maintains distance, gets most of its funding from Private Advertisers, and works for the benefit of providing Fair and Balanced information to the Campus.

    As On Line Paper, costs of Set Up, as well as SEO and Content will be provided by Journalism and Business School. Thus as Interns and Grad Students, these folks are given a chance to actually work within the News Industry.

    From a Marketing perspective, the game will be to drive Alligator out of business....here is how:

    A list of Alligator Advertisers (Past 6 months) is developed for Targetting same for Revenues for the New On Line Campus Newspaper......Because some smart Business Grad knows that by reducing Alligators already failing and falling Revenues by another say $300,000 .....or more....that would be the Targeted Revenues...a Fixed Cost to the Advertisers monthly to get the "Message" out to the Campus....Alas, it will of course be less than 50% of Alligators current Advertising Rates.....

    The Deans of Journalism and Business.....Provide the Staff, the Writers, based upon competitive methods within each school......

    Now of course SGA will want and should assist with this effort....by contributing as a Fixed Cost Advertiseer........and the Campus of Course places use of new on Line Newspaper as part of ALL Websites of UF....won't take long for readership to grow.in large way......Now of course this "Issue" of throwing away FREE newspapers brings up the point that Paper Products are now a Environmental Hazard and Waste and must be illiminated from UF CAMPUS in keeping with Liberal Views....Quit Killing Trees....just not right....

    Thus another Bill to prevent outside Interests, whether Commercial or Non Profit from continuing to harm the beautiful campus with tons of waste. Or...failing that simply charge .20 per Paper as a "Disposal Fee" to Alligator for the costs....

    Don't be surprised if all stated above actually happens. The lessons for Alliance will be that Capitalism works....it has a habit of cleaning out slimy and deceitful low rents.....don't ya agree?

    This could probably all be accomplished in less than 60 days...with a budget of less than $20K along with the assistance of Journalism School, and Business School...

    Alas......Alligator goes away.....so sad......

    Who do you think would initiate such practical methods for sending the message?...Chances are that "Both Parties" will....think ya really stepped in it this time....ta ta

     
  • Roosevelt posted at 4:04 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    Roosevelt Posts: 56

    @Simply Stated, so a Student Government run by the greek system can control the content of the paper? I don't think so. I'll take my news nice and Independent.

    It is only biased and slanted because it doesn't align with your sheltered little world. The opinion pages were ANGRY this week. And why shouldn't they be? A member of the Unite Party (verified by two eye witnesses and an anonymous Unite source) was throwing out their hard work. I'd be angry too!

    However, the articles (aka not COLUMNS or EDITORIALS) were solely factual. Please do some reading and don't buy into everything your house rep spews.

     
  • GreekAlum posted at 4:04 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    GreekAlum Posts: 6

    Let's break down Ariana's claims about what the party has brought us:
    Gotcha Rides - Bull. Gotcha approached SG, not the other way around.

    Library West 24 hours, Starbucks 24 hours - Very true. It only took 3 years.

    Hand Sanitizers in Reitz - How is this even considered worthy of a platform point?

    Make it Reitz Campaign - How has bringing a campaign helpful? And didn't we say Unite and the campaign were separate? All that bull about TJ magically finding money is crap. This was the back up plan of PTI and Business Affairs from the beginning.

    TEDxUF - Unite didn't bring this. It was started by two random business school kids last year then SG stole it.

    That cool vending machine in libwest with school supplies - I'll concede this one.

    Billy Joel/Drake - Wait, you mean Unite controls SGP?

    Took Block Tuition off the table - I'm tired of this lie. This was from the protesting, I heard it from Kratzer himself.

    Redbox in the Reitz - More BS. This wasn't some Unite brainchild, it came from the Reitz. Just because something happens while Unite is in office doesn't mean we can take credit for it.

    Young Leaders Conference/Dance Marathon - How the hell can Unite take credit for either of these?

    More Bluelights on Campus - Can't wait for this. Blue lights cost a ton of money and I'm pretty sure are paid for by UPD, not SG.

    All in all, I'll give you 3/11. In 3 years, Unite brought us a 24-hour library, hand sanitizer and a supplies vending machine. Keep it up!

     
  • Simply Stated posted at 3:23 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    Simply Stated Posts: 3

    Hmmmm........Lets see. It is definitely "Time" for a Bill Introduced to establish a Campus Newspaper for UF.....Correct.

    This will provide the "Fair and Balanced" reporting not currently available with Alligator's biased and slanted news...

    Hmmm......Think we can find the "Funds" for this effort in the Budget? Perhaps the English Department will want the "Mission"....ya think?
    Alligator destroyed themselves while SLANDERING innocent people...could not happen to a nicer bunch of Gweeds....

     
  • amtaya posted at 2:09 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    amtaya Posts: 2

    Seriously? "Can't wait to see Unite eradicate them," that's what you have to say after the election? Poor sportsmanship my friend. Because as I recall candidates are now execs and cabinet members serving the Student Body, not Unite.

     
  • gatorgirl123 posted at 1:46 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    gatorgirl123 Posts: 1

    Such meek, small words coming from the Alligator after their weeklong hate campaign towards Unite. Actually "hatred" and "Unite" were in the same headline, in a sports column. Because that's not opinion, of course. And anonymous sources are fair game, too, just print whatever the hell you want. It's a rookie mistake to bite the hand that feeds you, and the Alligator just bit that hand off. The Alligator put all their money on black this week out of vengeance, and they just lost. Joey Flechas will go down as the Editor who's ego and personal bias allowed the Alligator go rogue. You wanted to be independent? We heard you loud and clear. Can't wait to see Unite completely eradicate them and upgrade to a newspaper that reports ethically.

     
  • GatorA posted at 1:14 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    GatorA Posts: 3

    I still don't see how half of the things mentioned below are directly a result of the Unite party. To say Dance Marathon and Redbox exist on campus as a result of SG is a stretch. Congrats on one semester of a 24-hour Library West, hopefully we can afford that next year alongside free meal plans and parking spaces that are needed for those important budget meetings.

     
  • ama8189 posted at 12:26 pm on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    ama8189 Posts: 6

    TWO THINGS I CONSIDER AT THE POLLS:

    1. YOUR BELIEFS DON'T MAKE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE, YOUR BEHAVIOR DOES.

    UNITE: Gotcha Rides, Library West 24 hours, Starbucks 24 hours, Hand Sanitizers in Reitz, Make it Reitz Campaign, TEDxUF, That cool vending machine in libwest with school supplies, Billy Joel next week, Took Block Tuition off the table, Redbox in the Reitz, Drake Concert, Young Leaders Conference, Dance Marathon, More Bluelights on Campus.......(more to come)

    STUDENTS PARTY: We should spend money better! It's not fair that they get all the SG positions! We COULD do it better!.....Nice beliefs, but no past behavior to back it.

    2. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE THAT PREPARES YOU FOR THIS JOB?

    UNITE: Treasurer of our School, Budget Chair, SG Senators with 10+ years experience combined.
    STUDENTS: Humans v Zombies Chair, Gonna apply to the Marines, plays football.

    How would you feel if you applied to med school after being UF premed and someone fighting for your spot had never sat in a chem class? Student's Party resumes say it all. While Student's Party was busy putting in NO work on campus, the members of Unite were implementing their ideas. While they were playing Humans vs Zombies, Unite members were sitting in budget meetings.

    Glad I voted Unite, even happier they won, can't wait to see what TJ, Sabine, and Juan do.

     
  • GoGators92 posted at 11:43 am on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    GoGators92 Posts: 2

    Everyone who is complaining here has no valid argument. When you say, "I hope that one day, the party with a legitimate, doable platform wins and actually keeps its promises," do you realize that the UNITE party completes its platform every year? Who stopped block tuition? Unite. Who got you a 24-hour library? Unite. If you try and say that these are not part of the interest of the general student body, you are full of crap.

     
  • You Got Served posted at 11:29 am on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    You Got Served Posts: 44

    Eetilton, The Alligator misled its readers by trying to make the issue about whether The Alligator was funded directly by UF or SG. That was never the case, The Alligator is a non-profit corporation whose sole source of revenue is advertising sales. The Alligator's largest purchaser of advertising has traditionally been SG and SG funded organizations. In the past, The Alligator was the only way for organizations to reach students. However, with the advent of Facebook and social media, there are alternative cheaper options for organizations to pursue.

    The Alligator's problems are a problem with all print media. However, while The Alligator is indeed not directly funded by SG or UF, it is dependent upon the revenue that they receive indirectly through student fees.

    Fortunately, as a non-profit corporation The Alligator is required to file a Form 990 with the IRS.

    Campus Communications Inc. d/b/a The Independent Florida Alligator

    2007 (tax year ending July 31, 2008)
    Revenue = $1,745,037
    Expenses = $1,430,599 (Salaries = $643,834)
    Net Profit = $314,438

    2008 (tax year ending July 31, 2009)
    Revenue = $1,773,069
    Expenses = $1,730,274 (Salaries = $603,750)
    Net Profit = $42,795

    2009 (tax year ending July 31, 2010)
    Revenue = $1,511,161
    Expenses = $1,448,554 (Salaries = $749,325)
    Net Profit = $62,607

    2010 (tax year ending July 31, 2011)
    Revenue = $1,334,439
    Expenses = $1,263,142 (Salaries = $612,337)
    Net Profit = $71,297

    It doesn't take a genius to realize that a company that is seeing its advertising revenue decline over $200,00 year after year and has seen its annual net profit go from $314,438 to an average of roughly $59,000 in just three years has reason to be concerned.

    However, The Alligator should disclose that it has a vital interest in disclosing the fact that TJ asked The Alligator to either cut the cost of advertising for student organizations or that organizations would have to cut back themselves. If I'm having an event for my organization do I really need to spend thousands of dollars in advertising through The Alligator or should I use a more cost effective avenue like Facebook?

    Is it right for The Alligator to throw stones at others while purposely not disclosing a serious financial conflict of interest to its readers and purposely spin an issue for its own gain?

     
  • eetilton posted at 5:44 am on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    eetilton Posts: 2

    I hope that one day before i graduate, we actually see a fair race, absent of dirty politics, that leads to a victory for the only actual party that knows what is going on and what needs to be done around here. I hope one day, those in the Greek system will not be forced to blindly follow the Unite Party, and will be able to choose for themselves. I also hope that one day, our new president realizes that the INDEPENDENT Florida Alligator's funding is unaffiliated with UF's money. I hope that one day, the party with a legitimate, doable platform wins and actually keeps its promises. I support The Students Party for the next election. Until then, maybe the new Unite Party president and his staff will at least install lockers for student use (the only decent idea on their platform)...

     
  • Paintzor posted at 4:15 am on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    Paintzor Posts: 2

    Dear Student Government,

    I did not vote this year. Why, you ask?

    I have been a UF student for over four years now. I have voted in the past four years of SG elections, and in those four years SG hasn't done anything for me, my department (and its associated student organizations), or the majority of UF's student body. I voted you into office. I scratched your back, and four years later I am still waiting for you to scratch mine.

    This is my last full semester at UF, and after four years I can honestly say I feel no loyalty, no commitment to this university or its student government that has done nothing but misappropriate my money, waste my time, and ignore the interests of the student majority.

    The past four years have taught me that if my vote indeed does accomplish anything, it serves only to give prestige to those who do not deserve it; to pad the resumes of Greek letter-wearing douchebags who care nothing for the rest of us bourgeois GDI.

    I would echo the sentiment of gtl's comment below. I can only hope Unite Party will one day wake up, stop riding the Greek baloney pony, and act in the best interest of the greater student body for a change.

    Disrespectfully yours,
    A disaffected senior

     
  • gtl posted at 3:09 am on Thu, Feb 23, 2012.

    gtl Posts: 14

    "'I think it was a dirty year with sensationalized media, but students didn't listen to it,' said Unite Party spokeswoman Christina Bonarrigo. 'They listened to the Unite Party, and they knew what we were about.'" Ironically this is probably why the race was so close; people listened to the media, to other people, and because they knew what Unite was about the Students Party was able to pull off such numbers.

    --Congratulations to Unite, hopefully this close call can serve to wake you up and reform yourselves before next semester. Although Villamil's "this was a victory for the students" statement makes no sense, I hope he and Unite work to make it so, and shift your focus to the part of student body that doesn't belong to a fraternal organization or an SG dependent club, which happens to be the majority.--

    --Congratulations to the Students party, who pulled off incredible numbers unimaginable in recent UF history, this is not a loss, but a victory that needs to push you farther in the coming elections. You have seen that it can be done. Let's make it all the way next semester.--