Recent SGA elections exemplify stark entrance of outside politics

Photo by Elise Gregg, PantherNOW

Arianna Otero | PantherNOW Staff

This year’s student government elections was one of the more active and engaged in recent years, boasting two political parties for students to choose from and three tickets for the presidency.

The election season also saw the influence of outside politics and political organizations on campus through endorsements and support through social media.

The fact that College Republicans, Jóvenes de la Resistencia, and Young Democratic Socialists of America are supporting SGA candidates and their platforms marks a new era of Student Government, where outside politics are taking over and not only dictating the resolutions that are to be passed but also gives the green light to senators to insert their own politics into their work.

Though many senators have been affiliated with outside political groups long before (for example, the president of College Republicans, Ian Lares-Chacin, has been a senator since last spring), students may see an ever-increasing and explicit presence of outside political debate.

For example, although elections have been over for over a month, disqualified presidential candidate and current CASE senator Delano Cicconi had been vocal about his disqualification and found the support of two notable organizations. 

FIU GOP and JAR Cuba both posted Instagram stories stating that Cicconi was not notified of his disqualification and the hearing thus meaning he was not in attendance to defend himself.

Screenshot of the Instagram stories supporting Cicconi on Tuesday, March 21. | Elise Gregg, PantherNOW

Despite these claims, the Elections Board Commission stated that she sent multiple emails notifying Cicconi of his hearing and she received no response.

Before GOPFIU or JAR Cuba started supporting candidates, YDSA would throw their hat into the ring during elections season, endorsing three candidates, one of their own members and two members of Pride Student Union.

Kaily LaChapelle, incumbent SIPA senator and sponsor of the “Can’t Ban Us” Resolution, Ness Cruz, housing senator, and Daniel Salup-Cid, CASE senator. All three would win their respective seats.

“[YDSA] felt the need to get involved because my chapter members and I agreed that campus politics, specifically SGA politics, hasn’t really been that present within the consciousness of the student body,” said Salup-Cid, a member of YDSA.  

While some may view the introduction of outside politics as necessary and a natural evolution of student government, some feel that it’s too much and pushes other items on SGA’s agenda to the side.

Zachary Stangl has been the Senate President Pro-Temp for the past school year, serving on SGA’s executive board. He’s been to a majority of the senate meetings and has done his best to lead with neutrality. 

“I don’t think it’s the student government’s job to be involved in highly political matters,” said Stangl. “When you make strong opinions you alienate students who don’t agree.”

President-elect Alex Sutton agreed that politics in the senate chambers puts other initiatives- such as fixing BBC bus wifi, and helping with academic advising, amongst others- on the back burner.

“I think that on the whole, it’s a negative thing, because student government is supposed to advocate for all students, and the vast majority of student issues have nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism, Democrats or Republicans, socialism, or capitalism,” said Sutton. 

“Student issues are this organization is not getting enough funding. This club needs to go on a trip and needs to get help submitting a travel authorization. This student has an abusive professor and it needs to be addressed. We need to improve the Wi-Fi on the BBC buses.”

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