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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Halloween is coming up, so I think it’s an appropriate time to talk about a spooky mystery that has been on my mind for quite some time.

UF Student Government’s executive branch has agencies akin to our federal government’s departments. Each agency has its own mission. The ACCENT Speakers Bureau brings in speakers, as I’m sure you’ve all realized at this point, while Chomp the Vote dabbles in registering voters.

Now, if the U.S. Department of Energy or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security disappeared overnight, I’m sure a lot of heads would turn. In a similar sense, a lot of people are wondering what happened to two SG agencies: the Freshman Leadership Council (FLC) and Bridges Minority Outreach Program.

FLC has always been an interesting program. It aimed to bring together 50 or so first-year students to engage in professional development, learning how to program all under the wing of SG. I applied when I was a freshman, but was rejected. Full disclosure: I’m still a little salty about that, but I suppose I’m salty about SG in general.

However, I expected to be rejected because I knew where FLC stood in the grand scheme of things.

FLC, alongside other organizations such as Gators of Tomorrow, has long served as an incubator for impressionable students, molding their Silly Putty souls into becoming lackeys for Florida Blue Key. To be fair, FLC has churned out some great leaders who have decided to use their powers for good.

Earlier in the year, you might recall that the person appointed to run FLC, Austin Carroll, wasn’t actually a part of FLC. This led to a showdown in Student Senate in which many alumni turned up to pressure the Senate to do the right thing and not confirm the chairman. The Senate ended up voting to confirm the unqualified agency head which appears to have led to the scuttling of the entire agency. Situations like those really open people’s eyes to see how messed up SG really is.

(If anyone from UF Health Shands Hospital is reading this, give me an email if y’all do pro bono spine transplants because I know a couple of people with Twizzlers for spines.)

Aside from one Facebook share in the summer that advertised staff applications, we never heard from FLC again. Normally their recruitment process happens in September, but this year I was surprised to see that Florida Blue Key was launching its own freshman leadership program around the same time. Wow, I’m sure that was sure a coincidence.

It doesn’t feel right to call “FLC” lucky, but at least it has (or “had”) an agency head. Bridges Minority Outreach Program, on the other hand, is both leaderless and mysteriously quiet.

The mission of this agency is (or was) to: “prepare the next generation of racial minority scholars in the state of Florida to be competitive applicants in UF’s application process.” It is a little worrisome to see the potential fizzling out of this actually meaningful agency after its inaugural year.

These two SG agencies, both new and old, have vanished and people deserve to know what happened. SG needs to own up for its lack of transparency. Not all mysteries are best left unsolved.

Zachariah Chou is a UF political science senior and serves as the Murphree Area Senator.
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