Monday, August 22, 2005

Unity: The Road To Success

With the Fall Semester fast approaching, there's a very real chance to counteract the gains made by the establishment party. Some forty+ seats (46 senate seats) will be up for grabs and once again campaigns will take over Turlington, Reitz, SW, and the various residence halls, so I feel it's 'make-or-break critical' that everyone, not just the party hierarchies, look into the idea of uniting: Impact, Progress, Voice, Iron Fist, Theatre Strike Force, and even some of parties from the pages of history that should seriously consider coming back out, i.e. Student Alliance & Marsh-inspired Keg.

Fall elections are generally lower intensity than Spring ones, however, this election has a real importance. If the opposition can win at least 15-20 of the forty plus seats up for grabs, it will seal our chances of organizing a serious exec. ticket for Spring and it will also give much needed support to independents already in office. There is no reason that if given 15-20 victories that we could not take control of the R&A Committee in Senate with representatives from Impact, Progress, & Voice respectively.

The time to work together is before us and only a United Opposition will defeat the Institutionalist Party.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dan Fitzpatrick Speaks!!!

Iron Fist leader, Dan Fitzpatrick Speaks!

CD: Who are you (name, major, year, etc) and what is your opinion on the make-up,performance, and relationship between Student Government and the Student Body?

DF: I'm Dan Fitzpatrick, the face of the Iron Fist, a 4th year Psychology and Micriobiolgy major here at UF. Prior to my involvement with the Iron Fist, I was (and still am) involved with Student Alliance and was marginally involved with Access. Having been involved with several SG campaigns, I've come to realize that SG caters only to the interests of a select few. In the first place, SG does a poor job of letting students know who to voice their concerns to, and unless you're in with the right people, your opinions are seldom addressed anyways. Real change is needed, but since so few people outside the system know this, it's so hard to fix anything.

CD: What was the Iron Fist all about? While many "SG-insiders" viewed it as a joke, there seemed to have been an almost undeniable level of organization and commitment on behalf of your colleagues and supporters, how would you describe this in your own words?

DF: The Iron Fist had two intentions really. First, we wanted to let SG know that there are lots of people - the members of the Iron Fist, to name a few - who don't think that SG's aim is a bit off. Their promises don't really reflect what the student body wants and needs, or else SG sets the bar much too low. Secondly, we wanted to enlighten the UF student body to the problems of SG. Past parties I've been involved with have tried and have succeeded to plant the seeds of change, but the people of the Iron Fist figured that the best way to grab people's attention was through satire. Unfortunately, like you say, the satire was lost on many people who saw it merely as a joke. This project was more than six months in the making, and many people put in many man hours planning and brainstorming, not to mention the money I had to dish out to fund it all. We were indeed trying to get a point across - that SG needs change - and I think we got the message across enough people who actually listened and who were curious enough to talk to us in person. Overall, I think it was a success.

Read The Rest of This Great Interview @:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Gator, Impact, & Who?....

Today's Alligator editorial cartoon left me thinking. So there's three parties in senate, hmmm..., this kind of like last summer when we had Access, Innovate, and all the Fall 'Ignite' senators... but in my book they were either Pro-Access or Pro-Innovate, I don't recall the Fall Igniters having their own caucus meetings or bloc-voting during the summer of '04. It's interesting how the students are being sold the fascade of tri-party cooperation in chambers, when in all reality there is only one party calling the shots in there. As much as I like Adelle, it's hard for me to believe she's the Access leader when for most of last Spring's election season I'd see her sporting Gator Party t-shirts. I know she didn't stay with Gator for the entire ride, moving over to Impact later, but either way...she was Gator and then Impact (however NOT a neutral Access party senator as this tri-party setup implies).... When will SG'ers get with the program? Some of us from the Access days are starting to sound like old fogies talking about those days, but how much more will the yellow & blue get milked? I mean for crying out loud, last Fall's "Access" was a joke, perhaps even in greater magnitudes than the version of the party registered by Michael Shine in Spring '05. That false incarnation of Access (F'04) resulted in the creation of Voice nearly one year ago today. Voice was a protest that fell largely on deaf ears but did FORCE the machine party to acquiesce to certain demands.

I just find it very insulting that the students are being made to believe that there are in fact three distinct powerbases in senate. I guess I might have more insights if I actually went to meetings, but this is as close as I'll get to SG, because I'm a firm believer that everyone gets a turn to play leader and then they go back to being concerned students or proud alumni (in my present case). I really can't stand career SG politicians, but a select few do such a good job that in their case its a service to the student body for them to continue on. Go Diane!!! (I like John too, Jared's ok, but um....oh yeah...GO DIANE!!!!)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Diane! Diane! Diane!

Diane Kassim is not your average presidential hopeful and has quite a great deal to offer the student body of the University of Florida. Some people are out to crucify her going Gator, as opposed to Impact, but as I stated in my senate farewell speech, I too was disappointed but respect her decision as much as John Boyles' of abandoning the Opposition for greener pastures. I for one left Impact before it became Impact or Phoenix for largely the same reasons Diane did, we were skeptical of the upcoming elections, we had wined and dined with Dennis and expected the bold determination of the Sowell/Samuels/Argento/Harrell camp and found ourselves with the Ngin/Nin passive-let's-test-the-waters-first mindset. Up until mid December '04 we still couldn't confirm whether or not Dennis was actually going to run or bow-out in his prime like most of us believed Bryson would.

Diane Kassim is not a traitor or a sellout. During the Spring of '04 she represented District A (32601), the Sorority(Ignite/Innovate)-dominated district. Still, she seriously put her hopes of re-election and her SG future in jeopardy and was one of the strongest backers of Jamal Sowell. Even during the contentious of summer of 2004, when the last thing on anyone's mind was an Access/Innovate merger, Diane held out, largely stepped up to the plate coordinating legislative strategies, and kept the party ready for what I had hoped would have been the final showdown that never was, against Innovate (Fall 2004).

We can sit here and credit Progress for their valid efforts of lobbying the special Legislative Committee on Online Voting, but before crediting lobbyists it's proper to credit the founder(s) of the committee. Diane fought hard on senate floor and throughout campus via public opinion, created the aforementioned committee, and became a symbol of hope for those that aimed to see online voting come to fruition at UF. This may be a new cause or a rallying point for a party, but it's been a promise Diane Kassim was determined to make good on, first.

We can sit here and lambast Diane for switching to Gator, but doing so and omitting Pro Temp. Boyles means something else. I love Diane, I love John (all of us being Original Yellow & Blue), but as ever sure as I am that racism remains strong at UF, I am sure that sexism has its place as well. When I was out on the set campaigning for Access in '04, I had heard my fair share of degrading and backward comments from members of fraternities, from members of my own house, and from random people that you'd think were completely oblivious to the SG process. I am speaking from personal experiences and no one can deny me what I heard and saw.

I remember one member of the Greek community in particular, whose name I shall protect but whose mindset has forever since made me ashamed to have called him my friend. I remember getting across to him on how Jamal could in fact be a better president than Scott, I had made some progress with him on Jamal's political track record and he finally agreed that he would vote Access, but what he said at the end of our talk, in front of no less than a dozen others was chillingly too 'real world,' too 'this is the way some members of academia still think;' he put his hand over my left shoulder and told me while laughing "well it's between a kike and a nigger."

I'm The Radikal, I'm long graduated from UF (though may return for grad school), I speak my mind and share my experiences (though you won't find them candy-coated here b/c I could care two shits if you like my blog, opine on my blog, or put my blog on a link on your, this word has become redundant), and while I can't say that I'd vote for Diane (in part b/c I still haven't been re-admitted back to UF), I will say that she's the finest candidate I've heard mentioned to date for the SB Presidency, with Jared and John getting honorable mention. A former Budget Committee Vice Chair, former Reitz Union Board of Managers committee chair, former Pro. Temp., a current Senate President, a rebel in the old days, active across campus, a strong African American Woman that's made it to the top in a largely (and despite most people's new age perceptions) a man's world and schooled several of these might I add, she should get a bit more consideration from the students for being on your minds even if slightly threatening to your visions of the next SG roster, than others whom have made it into your thoughts for being so nice and so easy to work with. Remember, the President is the person that goes in there and gets the job done, the President should not be elected on whether or not you can stand there with this officer, in a hallway, and talk about the most boring topics and expect in return a polite smile back and their undivided attention. I would recommend to folks that look for these qualities in an SB Presidential candidate to vote for Diane Kassim and then head over to the humane society, get a nice kitten or puppy, and take either out for long walks in areas ranging from semi-public to abandoned, where they can have insightful conversations with the otherwise oblivious animal.

And yes, history does repeat itself, so what will Diane's opponents use to discredit her from being a viable candidate? Surely the party-switch will only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because even in an age of free expression such as ours, I seriously doubt that her fiercest opponents would ever dare expound on the real reasons why they are so vehemently opposed from even mentioning her name in real consideration for the top post of Student Government.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The KA Suspension

My view on hazing is very different than what many people have come to expect from me. I am a diehard independent, I believe in individuality, freedom, and across-the-boards reforms, however, I am also Greek and as a member of the Greek community I see myself a hardline traditionalist. I offer my opinion on fraternities solely, not to be sexist, but purely and simply because this is all I know of from a ritual-perspective.

I believe that in this day in age, the concept of brotherhood in many houses has been watered down to the point that pledges and even many initiated members of a house fail to grasp the extent of brotherhood and what exactly that means. Fraternities are deep rooted in masonic rituals, they are intended to be either secret or semi-secret societies whereby whatever goes on in a fraternity member's house stays in that house, be it conversation all the way to ritual.

What has been labeled 'hazing' by this university's judicial reviews is ridiculous and outrageous. These heavily-biased judicial reviews have no legal power, none. Fraternities that take part in this clearly flawed 'legal process' find themselves disproving their guilt, as opposed to defending their innocence from the moment they put their feet in these chambers. Fraternities have House Corps and vast state, national, and international resources at their disposal. Fraternities should ignore the calls from the DSO/Judicial Affairs and engage the University in real courts of law and they should take the advice of their graduate brothers over even their own wishes, because members of an undergraduate chapter can be easily deceived by the Greek-hating tyrants of this university's administration.

While I will not elaborate on tangible examples of what hazing is or is not, I will state that it is an imperative part of pledge education, it builds unity amongst the pledge class, and it weeds out the men from the boys. If a potential pledge cannot endure what every man before him has and is unwilling to give what is expected of him, he should be blackballed immediately. Joining a fraternity, is not so much about popularity, it's not about getting drunk, high*, and laid...though these activities do help pass the time quite nicely, the real reason a young man joins a fraternity is have a group of men he can trust to have his back in the life ahead, to be able to network with others to ensure he will make a good living in life, and to help others both in his local chapter as well as in the national/international organization to make it through the path and reach success. A fraternity is not a club, a fraternity is not a loose-membership entity, it is not merely a social experience, it is something very sacred, in ritual, history, and brotherhood and no man should reap these benefits without proving himself accordingly. Stealing signs may seem infantile, but don't get stuck looking at things in black-and-white, look beyond the tasks, and try to rationalize what else may be going on.

I hope that Kappa Alpha Order goes underground, continues to initiate pledges (even if hiding their names from nationals), I hope that KA continues its chapter meetings, and I hope that Greek men realize that the FRATERNITY is not the house, it is not the socials, it is not what some goon from the administration says, it is HISTORY, it is RITUAL, and it is BROTHERHOOD.