To the UF community and The Gator Nation the world over,
Because of my conduct, this last month has been a public trial for everyone who represents the University of Florida. For that, I want to sincerely apologize. I never wished to cast a negative light upon our fair university.
At the John Kerry forum, I stepped out of line. There were rules in place to ensure that the forum was run in an orderly fashion, and I did not follow them.
In society, as in life, there are consequences for not following the rules. In this instance, not following the rules has imposed consequences for many more people than just myself, people who have seen this school, and perhaps their degree, tarnished in the eyes of others through no fault of their own.
For that again, I am truly sorry. As all of you who attend here know, the University of Florida is a fabulous institution, a place where many of the finest young minds in Florida come to be educated, grow as people, and ultimately begin to look forward toward their own careers.
Despite what the media have portrayed, I can not imagine a better environment for honest and open discourse, and the way that the UF community responded and really came together throughout the firestorm proves that.
Student Government, which has provided thought-provoking speakers throughout my time at UF, responded to the incident in the best fashion possible - it provided an open-mic platform on the Plaza of the Americas. During a heated public debate, SG showed that it is committed to the students of the University of Florida.
I would also like to personally thank all of the students of this great university. Your interest in this matter, whatever your position, is indicative of the true spirit of this university. UF is a free and loving and caring place, and your awareness and involvement has made me prouder than ever to be a Florida Gator.
There is one last person and entity that deserves my utmost praise. To UF President Bernie Machen, and all of the UF administration that has had to react to this situation, I thank you for your calm and just leadership during this time. I thank you both for allowing me to return to class, and for providing an arena where students could voice their concerns, the student and faculty panel. The creation of the panel proved once and for all that UF cares about the direction it is going in, and it wants students to be a part of the decision-making process.
And finally, I have one last apology to make. To everyone who came to see John Kerry speak and to all concerned Americans, I'm so sorry that I lost my cool in that auditorium. I went there to ask an important question - the question of voter disenfranchisement in America cuts to the heart of our democracy - and my failure to act calmly resulted in this important town forum ending without the discourse intended. For that, I am truly sorry.
Andrew Meyer is a senior majoring in telecommunication.