The Freshman Leadership Council, a UF Student Government agency that has existed for 15 years, never commenced this semester. The person in charge says it is “intact.”
The council is meant to help about 50 freshmen each year become acquainted with UF and the Gainesville community, according to SG’s website. However, no FLC events or interviews have taken place this year, according to former chair Devon Philip.
The last original post on FLC’s Facebook page was published Spring 2019. It’s last Twitter post is from a year ago. FLC does not appear on UF Student Activities and Involvement’s search website.
Austin Carroll, FLC chair, told The Alligator the organization is “very much intact.” He said he and his staff are working to plan events for this semester, which has 17 days of classes left, not including weekends.
Carroll ended the phone call with The Alligator abruptly and did not respond to further questions.
Two students applied to be FLC chairperson in the Spring: Emily Hyden and Carroll. Hyden was the former FLC director of internal relations. Carroll didn’t have prior experience with FLC and submitted his application 38 days late to Student Body President Michael Murphy’s email address instead of through the SG website, according to Alligator archives.
After the Student Body president, vice president and treasurer conducted interviews, the executive branch and Student Senate selected Carroll, who was then confirmed in Senate, Hyden said.
Carroll hadn’t submitted his application when Hyden interviewed, but he was selected.
“It was obviously a punch in the gut,” Hyden said. “But it wasn’t anything that I didn’t expect to happen.”
At the end of Spring, many FLC members didn’t know what direction FLC would go in, Hyden said.
The Alligator emailed, called and texted Murphy since last week, but he did not respond to questions as of Tuesday evening.
Florida Blue Key, a private organization focused on leadership and public service to UF, began a freshman program this semester called Florida’s Future Leadership Program, which Philip said is strikingly similar to FLC.
The program “works to connect aspiring student leaders with Florida Blue Key members,” according to the application for the program. FBK announced the program’s inaugural cohort of 25 freshman students Oct. 21 on its Facebook page.
However, Katie Hernandez, the FBK divisions coordinator responsible for university-wide programs, wrote in an email that FLC and FFLP are not connected, and she never worked with FLC. She pitched the program as part of her Florida Blue Key application last January.
“I wanted to create a division to establish mentorship between the active chapter and freshman students in the hopes of educating freshmen and giving them the opportunity to network with student leaders on campus,” she wrote.
Students formerly involved in FLC want to bring it back in Fall 2020. They want to have the Bob Graham Center take over the program.
“As the center for public service and leadership, it most directly aligned with FLC’s mission and values,” he said.
FLC's last Facebook post from March 2019.