Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 07/03/2013
STAFF COLUMN: The lost student voice at Florida State
Source: FSView, 07/02/13
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By Rose Laughlin
“Get out and vote!” “Take a stand for what you believe!” “Your voice does matter!” Slogans such as these take the headlines, span across media outlets and are constantly drilled into the minds of eligible voters; however, do they actually hold true? On Thursday, June 20, this theory was put to the test, and in my opinion, it failed miserably.
Since 2008, the Florida State University student body has advocated for the passage of a student green fee. Through a charter of $.50 per credit hour, a Student Green Fund would result in the following: funding conservation, energy efficiency, sustainable-related projects in order to reduce the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, cut operational costs associated with waste and disposal and engage the student body in sustainability related projects. As the Assistant Director of the Office of Student Sustainability, I was awarded the honor of presenting this proposal on behalf of the Student Body, at the Florida Board of Governors meeting. However, after the explicit recommendations by Governor Rick Scott to reject all fees or tuition increases, the Board of Governors denied our proposal.
This sobering decision leaves a devastating blow to an advancement that our university desperately needs: the ability to fund its sustainability efforts. What makes this decision by the Board of Governors worse is the decision strips away the students’ voices, rendering them obsolete in the representation of their University.
As a student who has been eligible to vote on the institution of this fee three times now, I am disappointed in the Board of Governors disregard for student desires. We are not asking the State or the University to fund such programs. We are simply asking for the right to spend our own money on a fee of our choosing. This proposal has been open to the student body four times on four separate ballots, each time passing with a majority. There have been two senate resolutions, rendering their overwhelming support, it was unanimously passed by the Board of Trustees, and publically buttressed by FSU’s President, Dr. Barron.
The students want it, the Board of Trustees want it and our University President advocated for it to the Governors themselves. So, why should an outside group be able to shun the voices of the very people who would be affected by this fee? The very people who would be paying for this fee, the students, have asked for it. and yet it was denied. What is even the point of voting or getting involved, if our voices seem to have no validity?
Carlo Rossi, the one student representative on the Board, understood our fight. He valiantly stood in opposition to the other Governors, who seemed only to listen to the requests of Governor Scott. Prior to our proposal, a letter was sent to each of the Governors, from Governor Scott, urging each of them to vote down any fee proposals. Clearly, the minds were made up before we even stepped foot into the meeting. So, again I ask, what is the point? Why should students even make proposal requests, strive to gain support of their peers, vote in elections or get involved in the process at all?
This decision has come as a great defeat to the majority of the student body who voted for its success, which include the hundreds of students who have vigilantly fought for its passage since 2008 and the faculty members who advocated for the students right to choose. Most of all, this is a disappointing realization of the agenda of Florida’s legislative body, one that appears to cater to the desires of one man, rather than the voices of the students who this body is supposed to represent.
This fight is not over. We may have lost the first battle, but we FSU students stand strong, persevere and illuminate the Seminole torches–strength, skill and character.
If nothing else, I hope this outcome will awaken students to the current political climate. As discouraging as this decision by the Board seems, it should not lend to your disillusionment of the political process. In fact, it should serve as an even greater reason to get out and vote. We need to continue advocating for what we believe and put people into power who act in the interest of their constituents. After all, we live in a democratic state where we put our politicians in power.