Opinion | Letters To The Editor
I wish to thank the University of Florida professors, staff, coaches and their staff members, students, alumni and fans for their support, friendship and for the excellent education my grandson, Chris (Cheez) Chiozza has received. He has grown into an exceptional young man due to all of you who have supported him. I especially want to thank Coach White and his staff for their dedication to his advancement in the sport he loves. My husband and I met so many wonderful fans over the last four years, many of whom became dear friends. In August of 2014, we looked forward to the day Chris would be an alumnus of U of F. Now that that hope is to be fulfilled in May 2018 at graduation, we "kinda" wish it was a little further off. Thanks to all. Mary (Grandma Bunny) and GrandDad Frank Chiozza.
With three black students running for Student Body president in this Spring’s Student Government elections, many individuals are quick to jump the gun and state change is coming and bigotry and racism will no longer be a thing on this campus. The same thing was said when President Barack Obama was elected. It was said America had entered a new phase in its history, and the phrase “we are living in a post-racial America” became popular. Well, the 2016 U.S. presidential election showed otherwise.
Moral courage is finding the strength to act despite the consequences. As a student leader, if you choose to act with moral courage, you risk ending close friendships. You risk political retribution. You risk a loss of opportunities which could advance your career. Acting with moral courage is never the easiest path, but it is ultimately the correct one.
Running for Student Government has always been a goal of mine. This semester, I chose to slate with Challenge Party because they did not care about my affiliations. I was never once asked what organizations I was the president of or how much money could I donate to the campaign. I did not know the party president, campaign manager or the would-be executive ticket. In all ways, I was just some random engineering student with many ideas and that was more than enough for them.
Often, Student Government election ballots not only include candidates, but also questions. Recent ballots have included constitutional amendments and referendums. Students can submit these questions through petitions with signatures from fellow students. Through this process, students may directly shape their elected officials’ policies. Though rarely used recently, students can also petition to add an initiative. Initiatives, if passed, amend Student Body Law, which governs SG and student organizations. To appear on the ballot, initiatives need signatures from 2 percent of all students.
Inspire Party was founded upon three pillars: accountability, inclusivity, and transparency. In light of this, we would like to respond thoroughly to the recent allegations of Senator Branden Pearson.
When I started at the University of Florida this past fall, my goals were to serve the Student Body and ensure that every student’s voice was heard. When I slated with Inspire Party last September, I believed I was joining a party based on the principles of accountability, inclusivity and transparency. With Inspire Party I saw a way to make tangible change for the Student Body and achieve the mission I set out to accomplish, but soon after being elected as the Lakeside Senator, I began to question what Inspire truly stands for. As the Lakeside Senator, I have always put the students before party. Early in my Senate career, I met with Student Body President Smith Meyers and Senate President Ian Green. During these meetings, I saw opportunities to bring about bipartisan change for the Student Body. However, I found myself being increasingly questioned by members of my party as to why I would even attempt to work with members of the Impact Party.
Last week, the Budget and Appropriations Committee met to discuss the code revision for the Gators Matter, Period initiative, and did not vote in favor of the code revision to allow student organizations to purchase menstrual hygiene products for distribution using the Activity and Service Fees. However, the decision made by the Budget and Appropriations Committee does not reflect Student Government’s stance on the Gators Matter, Period. initiative. Rather, Student Government stands firm in their support for the Gators Matter, Period. initiative, and is currently working to fund this project through Facilities Services and GatorWell.
Hello Gators! My name is Erica Baker, and I am the supervisor of elections for Student Government. I am writing to you to discuss the importance of SG Elections. SG impacts the campus in a number of ways, through their ability to advocate on behalf of the Student Body at UF and in the state and federal government.
It came two days later than it was “supposed” to. Like many women, my period’s schedule has never been particularly predictable. Without birth control, mine would arrive weeks late or early, last many days longer than it should, and come with excruciating pain every day.
Student Body Treasurer to De-Affiliate from Impact Party and Announce Affiliation with Inspire PartyJan. 16, 2018
As a first-generation college student I was eager to learn about all of the different opportunities that the University of Florida presented both academically and professionally—not only for myself, but for every student attending UF. I viewed each position in leadership and campus involvement as an opportunity to make a positive difference in my peers’ lives, to make their experiences better and to encourage them to become their best versions of themselves. This is ultimately what led me on my path to Student Government: knowing leadership was my best chance at a meaningful way to create lasting change for my peers and the students who would come after us.
I’d like to begin by applauding recent efforts to secure permanent funding for eight counselors to be added to the Counseling & Wellness Center. This truly is a fantastic stride in acquiring necessary mental health resources for our Student Body. However, this stride was clouded by a terrible misjudgment by Student Body President Smith Meyers.
Martin Luther King Jr. famously claimed, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” As UF President Kent Fuchs has repeatedly demonstrated since white supremacist Richard Spencer first announced his intention to invade Gainesville in August, he does not understand King’s words.
I have watched, with intense interest, the preparations and conversations that have surrounded the visit by Richard Spencer to UF’s campus in Gainesville. I have been a part of the conversations regarding UF President Kent Fuchs’ decisions and a supporter of how UF has placed the safety of the campus and Gainesville community at the forefront. Fuchs and his team have carefully balanced the absolute requirement for student safety with UF’s strong commitment to the freedom of speech.
I strongly condemn the actions of the four Student Government officials on the local fee committee who recently struck down a possible increase of much-needed funding for the Counseling & Wellness Center, located at 3190 Radio Road.
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I am writing in response to Victoria Fortier’s column, verbosely titled, “It’s time to stop kneeling during the national anthem.” I’m a teaching assistant for ENC 1101 at UF, a class I really enjoy teaching. My students learn how to identify and write coherent arguments. One of the first things I teach them to do is to support claims with “receipts,” commonly known as evidence. I’m calling Fortier out because, while I respect her use of pathos, one of three rhetorical appeals (she’s really trying to rile people up), she hasn’t substantiated her claims with evidence. Dare I call unsubstantiated claims “fake news?” It’s true. More than 30 million people tune in every week to watch football games. It’s true that fans are now watching athletes kneel to protest the continued murder of black men, women and children. I disagree with Fortier’s claim that freedom has nothing to do with making a statement. I would back that claim up by providing my first receipt, the Declaration of Independence. Maybe Fortier has not had the chance to take history yet (however, I think it is a requirement), but this document is a literal statement of freedom written by our Founding Fathers. NFL protesters like Colin Kaepernick are very aware of their rhetorical situation. They understand their audience and have a specific purpose. Protest is a very specific strategy for making an argument. It’s often a dangerous and unpopular strategy in that it does not always care about being polite. While black men and women continue to die at the hands of corrupt police officers, Kaepernick and his fellow NFL players do not have time to be polite. Your plea for protesters to consider where and when they decide to make a statement isn’t needed. They have already considered where and when they protest. They have decided making you uncomfortable for a few minutes at the beginning of a football game is worth your discomfort. The Huffington Post reports that more than 250 black people were killed in 2016. These protesters want the murders to stop. If you were in my class and you turned in a paper without receipts, you’d receive an F.