Joshua Ceballos/Assistant News Director
The two parties originally running in the 2018 Student Government Council elections at the Modesto Maidique Campus have merged into one party, and the presidential candidate is running unopposed.
The norm for SGC-MMC elections involves two parties running against each other, much like the federal government and this year was to be no different. The incumbent party, FIYOU, was going to run against a new party: FIVIEWS.
Javier Ortiz, current lower division senator in SGC-MMC, explained during an interview with Student Media on how the new party came to be.
“In the beginning of this semester, there was no other party running against FIYOU, so I created a new party called FIVIEWS with a few others [Diana Galiano, Carolina Gonzalez and Chris Molina],” said Ortiz. “We felt it was necessary to have a second party to have a democratic election.”
This party, said Ortiz, was based around inclusivity and diversity in student government for all students on campus. The party leaders wanted to increase participation from students who are not affiliated with Greek organizations, as many individuals in SGA are affiliated.
“We weren’t an anti-Greek party, our whole ticket was Greek, but there are around 55,000 students at FIU and we wanted to address all their diverse needs,” said Ortiz.
Now that campaigning has started however, FIVIEWS no longer exists and many of the senators and candidates from the party are on FIYOU’s ballot.
The merger, according to current Vice President of SGC-MMC and 2018 presidential candidate for FIYOU Jose Sirven, came out of a desire for unity.
While speaking as a guest on Student Media’s radio show “The Claw and Growl,” on Monday, March 26, Sirven said that the leaders from both parties, including the presidential candidate from FIVIEWS Diana Galiano, met to discuss the possibility for a merger after the collapse of the FIU bridge.
The tragedy of the collapse and the loss of a fellow student deeply affected many of those in both parties, and according to both Sirven and Ortiz, they did not want to harm the FIU community with any more division.
“It was a raw wound. We decided that it would be insensitive to have a student government election that could have the potential to be as divisive as the last few years have been,” said Ortiz.
As a result of this sentiment, FIVIEWS dissolved as a party and many senators, including Ortiz, joined FIYOU’s ballot, while some decided to remain independent.
When they came together, the leaders of both parties decided to merge their platforms and share ideas, and some of the plans from FIVIEWS were transferred to FIYOU. Some of these ideas include placing vending machines called “brellaboxes” on campus that allow students to rent umbrellas to get between buildings, and improving of transportation on campus by expanding the range of the Panther Mover.
Despite the fact that some feel an unopposed election is strange, Ortiz said that this merger is important for the well being of FIU’s student body.
“I want people to know that as weird as this looks, this was done with good intentions,” said Ortiz. “It was done because we think it’s best for the student body. It’s time to have some semblance of good news and some form of unity.”
Featured image of Jose Sirven and Sabrina Rosell courtesy of Gabriella Pinos/PantherNOW