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Monday, February 06, 2023

“We found Ian Green does not come off as a leader and appears to speak only when spoken to. Moreover, he has a presence that is, to be frank, unimpressive and lackluster.”

The Alligator’s Editorial Board doesn’t always breathe fire on people, but when it did in Spring 2018 during its Student Government elections endorsement, I was in awe.

Unfortunately, it appears that its words ring true, especially in light of Green’s performance at the recent Board of Trustees meeting.

It’s flashback time! Think back to the presidential debate that Black Student Union hosted.

On stage, Green proclaimed: “Student Government and the university need to do more to get black students here and keep them here. I plan on making sure that when I walk into those Board of Trustees meetings, they don’t just know I represent the Student Body, but I represent the black Student Body.”

In response to the question of how he would advocate for black students before the Board of Trustees, Green said, “We need someone that can not only sit at that table but actually be able to speak for our community and convince people to listen to our community.”

In his closing statement, Green said, “Ultimately, what matters most is who of us will keep our word and who will deliver on those promises … Our community deserves more than meaningless rhetoric and empty promises.”

Now, let’s look at his track record as a trustee of this great university.

I looked at every single copy of minutes posted on the Board of Trustees website during Green’s term. Here’s what I found:

In the Summer set of meetings, Green appears to take the strong but silent approach. His name appears in the attendance section of the minutes, when he seconds a single motion and when he delivers his regular “Student Body President Update.” Perhaps Green was auditioning for a role in the movie “A Quiet Place.” Green was also absent from a board conference call later in Summer.

In the Fall, Green was absent from another conference call. He is listed as being in attendance for several more meetings, seconding another motion, giving his regular SG update and asking a question on the topic of “Risk Assessment and Training." I know minutes don’t capture everything in a meeting, but from these documents, I really don’t believe Green was out there fighting the good fight.

This Spring, I did not attend two “pre-meetings” for committees Green is a part of, and unfortunately, the minutes have yet to be published. If the trend continues, he probably didn’t do anything noteworthy.

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Last week, I was able to observe Green during the two days of Board of Trustees meetings at Emerson Alumni Hall. According to my personal tally, he asked three questions this time. None of the information gained appears to have trickled down to the Student Body, sadly. He gave his traditional lackluster report and also mentioned reaching out to prospective UF admits in Atlanta. Toward the end of the meeting, Green was presented with a framed proclamation thanking him for his “service.”

It is sad to say, but I have never seen or read of Green advocating for anything or anyone in these meetings. He could have easily done so when Divest UF came to this past meeting or when Puerto Rican UF students affected by Hurricane Maria asked SG for help, but he didn’t.

Was he really out there advocating for the black community to the Board of Trustees? It’s hard to say, but I haven’t seen it. I mean, honestly, I’ve barely seen him open his mouth.

I would have to agree with the Spring 2018 Alligator Editorial Board’s assertion that his presence was truly unimpressive and lackluster. I think that’s a crying shame, especially when we really need advocates for communities of color.

During an admissions update, the Board of Trustees learned that underrepresented minority admits to UF dropped from 27%down to 23% this year.

Zachariah Chou is a UF political science junior and Murphree Area senator. His column appears on Fridays.

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