‘Panther Paws’ resolution passes, soccer field renovations vetoed

Photo by Andres Bedoya


Photo by Andres Bedoya

Jonathan Simmons/Staff Writer

Two recent Biscayne Bay Campus Student Government Council resolutions have involved feet – the first, large, feline, and brightly colored; the second, human and hopefully, in the future, less sore than they have been in the past.

The first measure brought before the SGC-BBC senate last week concerned what the SGC is calling “panther paws” – large blue and gold paw prints which will soon, SGC-BBC members hope, be painted along 151 Street, stretching from the intersection with Biscayne Boulevard all the way to the campus – or, according to SGC-BBC clerk Larissa Adames, perhaps even up to the steps of the Bay Vista Residence Hall.

The idea for the “panther paws” isn’t new, and many universities have similar trails painted on local or campus roads and sidewalks. There are some on some of the roads on the MMC campus, for instance.

“Originally, five or 10 years ago” said Honors College Senator Pablo Haspel, who authored the resolution, “Paws were in place on the pavement on the way to campus.”

“Over the years, the road got re-paved,” and the paws disappeared.

The SGC-BBC Senate commissioned a poll in September and October of last year to determine student attitudes about an attempt to repaint the paws. The poll was small, with just 212 student participants, but the results were positive; 86% of those questioned believed that “panther paws” would “increase school pride and spirit.”

The SGC-BBC Senate resolution to repaint them, brought before the Senate on Sept. 12, passed unanimously and was signed by SGC-BBC President, Denise Halpin, on Sept. 19.

The Senate had in fact passed a similar resolution last year, but only did so late in the year, in March, when things were winding down for the summer and SGA members were unable to follow through on plans to get the project approved by FIU’s Department of External Relations and the City of Miami and begin the painting process.

SGC-BBC has not yet calculated how much funding will be needed to complete the job or determined where the money will come from; those questions will wait until after the project is approved by the University and the city.

Senator Haspel is pushing for the project to move forward quickly this year, as the same bureaucratic hurdles that SGC encountered last year threaten to hold it back this year as well.

“I would really love to do it this semester,” Halpin said, but she emphasized that there were practical matter to consider that could dictate when the work would take place.

“Whoever is  doing it would have to do it when there’s no traffic, like on a winter break,” he said. “I’m going to try to aim for winter break.”

The second measure brought before the SGC Senate on Sept. 12 would require an attempt to level out the BBC soccer field and require the construction of stands for spectators. The resolution was in part a response to complaints from members of the Biscayne Bay Campus Futbol Club that the field’s unevenness had been contributing to players’ soreness after practice, and was intended to require that potholes and other hazards be leveled to maintain a flat playing surface.

The resolution was passed unanimously in the Senate on Sept 12, but vetoed on Sept. 19 by President Halpin, who said that she intends to ultimately pass a resolution addressing the condition of the soccer field.

“I need to see more specific wording,” she said, than was present in the resolution passed by the Senate on the 12th.  If the intention is to deal with potholes, said Halpin, then the resolution should contain the word “potholes.”

The resolution dealing with the condition of the soccer field is likely to be re-written and brought before the Senate, and ultimately President Halpin, again in the coming weeks.

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