It seems that our Student Body President Ian Green fundamentally misunderstands a lot of things about our Student Government and campaign climate. Ian’s most recent letter to the editor is filled with mistakes that effectively demonstrate this.
Mistake 1: Ian wrote, “On a website published by the Inspire Party this past Tuesday, Chou claims…”
First of all, Zachariah Chou didn’t claim anything on Inspire’s website: I did.
My name is Ashley Grabowski, and I’m the human who wrote the content that apparently riled up our Student Body president. Although I’m flattered that Ian spent so much time at our URL 一 I sincerely hope he enjoyed listening to Spoon’s “The Underdog” 一 I think it’s dangerous for powerful people to spread information that just isn’t true. Whether a matter of incompetence or maliciousness, it’s unacceptable, and I’m here to set the record straight.
Mistake 2: Ian wrote, “...Chou claims that SG delayed implementing live-streaming Student Senate meetings in order to avoid transparency with the Student Body.”
Actually, our website doesn’t claim that Impact-affiliated Senate leadership intentionally delayed implementing livestreaming to avoid transparency with the Student Body 一 Ian filled in those gaps himself, and he thought Zachariah’s Facebook Lives were awkward.
The point I’m making on the website is that if it takes SG over a year to figure out how to livestream Senate meetings, we probably need different people in leadership.
Mistake 3: Ian wrote, “What they failed to mention, however, was his reasoning for doing so — Inspire drafted an unconstitutional bill. Specifically, the legislative branch does not have the constitutional authority to make rules and codes that the executive branch has to follow, no matter how noble the intentions.”
I’m concerned about Ian’s knowledge of government. The legislative branch does, in fact, have the authority to submit code revisions, and the executive branch is held to code revisions that successfully pass (unless they’re vetoed by the Student Body president, but even then, the Student Body president’s veto can be overruled).
Ian defended Smith Meyers’ veto of the Student Body Accessibility Act, claiming that the legislation was unconstitutional. What Ian didn’t mention is that shortly after it was vetoed, Impact submitted nearly identical legislation 一 with their senators listed as authors this time 一 after making incredibly minimal changes to its content. This time, it passed without a veto. In my opinion, the veto had nothing to do with the content of the legislation.
Mistake 4: Ian wrote, “Inspire failed to mention that we, as the executive branch, were already including closed captioning as well as transcripts on our videos and continue to do so to this day under my administration.”
Young Leaders Conference, a Student Government Agency under Ian and his administration, posted a video without closed captioning or a transcript on their Facebook page on Feb. 7 (three days before Ian’s LTE was posted). The legislation Ian's referring to would've required closed captioning and transcripts on all videos released by official Student Government social media accounts.
Mistake 5: Ian wrote, “The project for increased street lighting around Infinity Hall began when Student Body President Susan Webster organized a nighttime lighting tour of the area surrounding Infinity Hall. Webster picked up the Mayor of Gainesville, UF Chief Operating Officer Charlie Lane, and UPD Chief Stumpf in a GOTCHA car, and drove around the residence hall...”
I’m forwarding a chain email to The Independent Florida Alligator with this LTE: The emails are of a conversation between Zachariah Chou and representatives of the City of Gainesville, and they prove Zachariah’s role in securing street lights for the area around Infinity Hall, but I hope Susan enjoyed her car ride.
Editor’s note: The Alligator did receive an email chain between Chou and City of Gainesville representatives that spoke about lightning around Infinity Hall.
Mistake 6: Ian wrote that “As for Library West, UF could always use more study space on campus as we strive to be a top five public institution, but I disagree with Chou on how we should get there. Chou demanded we raise your student fees to fund this priority.”
This is the first I’ve heard about this; as Inspire Party’s president, I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed if Zachariah demanded to raise student fees to fund a 24/7 library.
Let me fill you in on what actually happened: Ian’s administration was comfortable with designating Newell Hall as UF’s sole 24/7 study space until Inspire organized a petition and a public debate presence during Senate supporting a real 24/7 library with access to textbooks and computers. We had to remind Impact that not every student has access to a quiet place to study or a computer of their own, making a 24/7 library an important academic resource. This isn’t the first time that Inspire has had to remind Impact about what’s important to the average Gator. If Impact has to look to us in order to figure out what students want, that’s not a good sign.
Ian’s LTE preaches about transparency and honesty with the public, but it’s filled with errors that will mislead readers. He finishes his letter by talking about what students deserve; I’ll end mine in a similar fashion.
Students deserve a Student Body president who uses his voice to make a difference rather than to sling mud at opponents who intimidate him; students deserve representatives who don’t take credit for work that is already being done by someone else; students deserve representatives who are honest, resilient and earnestly dedicated to doing what’s right. That’s why I’m proud to run a campaign supporting Zachariah Chou for Student Body president.
If you’re looking for a song to listen to as you walk to the polls on Feb. 19 and 20, I recommend you give Spoon’s “The Underdog” a try.
Ashley Grabowski is Inspire Party’s president.