Vice Presidential Candidate:
TheRadikal: Tell us about the Pants Party. Is your party just about giving students a good laugh or do you have a serious agenda? Do you stand for any real issues that could truly unite broad bases of support behind your party in the upcoming election?
Bruce Haupt: The whole premise of the Pants Party is based on a serious agenda. The students think of SG as one big joke that’s filled with a bunch of resume builders and social climbers. Now, I admit that there are those in SG that defy these stereotypes, but there are quite a few in SG that do nothing but reinforce student views. The worst comes out during elections when parties form platforms they don’t follow through on and start making deals and slinging mud at each other (and this is in no way limited to just the Greek party). All of this translates into a paltry voter turnout of 20%, maybe, at most, and with between 1 and 2% actually involved in SG. The Pants Party is here to satire this... to point out that SG should be taken a little less seriously. Broken friendships due to “sides” in elections and all the title seeking that takes place is bullshit. SG needs to reach out to students on a level where students want to interact with SG. Make things open and make things fun. You’ll never see every student wanting to be a part of SG, but we can change SG’s culture so that students’ views of it are different, so that students at least participate in programs and in the policy making discourse.
And if nothing else the Pants Party will likely attract attention to SG from students who normally ignore every SG article in the paper. I think that helps.
As for uniting broad based of support, the Pants Party is not seeking endorsements from any groups. We’re not sticking to the traditional “court the organizations and their leaders so they get all their members to come out and vote” strategy. If people like what we’re saying, then they’ll support us. Seeing as how 80-90% of students think SG is pretty worthless, though, I think we already have a pretty good base of support, even if none of them turn out to vote.
TheRadikal: Tell us about your party's senate candidates and any special achievements or distinctions they may under their belts.
Bruce Haupt: The Pants Party’s slate of Senate candidates is filled with normal, fun students who disagree with the way SG functions right now. They agree that the way to change things is not to join the system and then change it from the inside. Some are heavily involved on campus (Cicerones, Greek life, Campus Diplomats, Preview Staffers, Area Government officers), but there are a number who aren’t involved with much of anything. They definitely have great campaign ideas that will all be unveiled shortly. J
TheRadikal: What leadership roles have you held in student government and/or throughout campus? What goals do you have for SG Cabinet? Furthermore, what would the Haupt/PANTS vision for this vast SG Dept. be?
Bruce Haupt: I was the Nontraditional Student Affairs (transfer students and students with families) Cabinet Director last year until the end of the Fall semester and I have been involved in many other things both at UF and at my last college (Brevard Community College) before I transferred. This is my sixth year of college, my victory lap; trust that I’ve been around long enough to do a few things. As for Cabinet, things would be very hands on, goal oriented, and we would absolutely be programming a lot. I’d love to go into details, but I fear that would smear the carefree image of the Pants Party’s campaign. ;)
TheRadikal: Tell us about the PANTS Campaign, will there be t-shirts, flyers, stickers? What kinds of things can the student body expect? Will PANTS' supporters chase students around or take the KEG approach?
Bruce Haupt: T-shirts, check. I just received all 300 or so and I must say they are amazing, though not free (the Pants Party and its members are fiscally responsible). Flyers, umm… why contribute 50,000 glossy pieces of literature that no one reads? That’s worse than not recycling. Stickers, nope… but we might have some buttons. Our campaign promises to be visible, but not in your face. We refuse to be “those annoying campaigners.” You’ll see what we’re up to soon… just watch our facebook group for the schedule.
TheRadikal: Come debate time, which candidate do you expect to DELIVER the goods aside from yourself? Basically, which candidate are you going to be especially prepared for? & Why.
Bruce Haupt: I’m sure they’ll all be “on the ball,” but if they stick to the tired SG campaign rhetoric, each with their own “side” and mission for revamping the student body, then quite frankly, I know I’ll be the most entertaining. People love to laugh. They’re doomed. ;)
TheRadikal: Were you harassed or intimidated by either major party (or any of its members) to not run for the Vice Presidency and/or slate senate candidates.
Bruce Haupt: Nope. I think I harassed them actually… from distracting Action outside their slating room to “interviewing” for the Vice President’s position with Swamp, I had fun.
TheRadikal: What is the FUNDAMENTAL barrier/problem with new faces getting involved with Student Government TODAY?! & How on Earth can you or any other prospective-elected official fix it.
Bruce Haupt: Most new faces don’t want to get involved with SG. More than all the “Blue Key is UF’s Karl Rove and controls what happens” explanation, students just don’t care. SG doesn’t do much for them that wouldn’t happen if SG didn’t exist. SG is simply a playground where UF’s future politicos can practice feeling important. As long as that hoity toity culture exists, students are going to see SG as nothing but an annoyance that occurs for 2 weeks each semester. Obviously then, most students will want nothing of it. I have no idea what would happen if I won, but I can guarantee some perceptions would change of SG.
TheRadikal: What did it feel like getting less senate candidates than Swamp or Action? What did it feel like being alone? For Voice and myself, it empowered me and prepared us for a long battle that has won us the respect of hundreds. What did it mean to you?
Bruce Haupt: I’ve got good people, and it’s easier to get to know a few people than a bunch, so I’m happy with the situation. As for the other question, I was never alone. The other parties kept me mighty entertained (as do the newsies Jessie DaSilva and Joey Chindamo) and I’ve received an amazing amount of support from friends and other students who like what the Pants Party is doing. The Pants Party is about having a good time and we have more than achieved our goal so far.
TheRadikal: What do you think of SB President John Boyles and his administration? Do you feel that next to the Swamp candidate you would be the next best choice for the President, since your party isn't as hostile to him or his administration [as others]? Would you agree with that logic or refute it?
Bruce Haupt: I like JB, he’s a good guy… even if he does call me “Crazy Bruce” (can I really argue that at this point though?). As for his administration, I like a lot of the people, just as I enjoy the company of many of the Action people (I can’t speak for Nina yet since I’ve never had the pleasure of chatting with her). As for how I’d interact as part of the administration if I won, I certainly would never be hostile, but to think that I would go along with any of their policies “just because” is a complete fallacy. I would always be available to the media for any questions (I’ve heard SG is less media friendly lately) and I would ensure that Cabinet was making an impact on campus and in the community. But at the same time, I have no doubt that Chris and Nina (and Arturo already) would do the same. Cabinet is lucky to live in an insulated world of SG where the politics are a little less important. It’s all about getting things done and I would wager that any of us, if elected, would ultimately be focused on that.
TheRadikal: Will the PANTS Party be alive in the Spring 2007?! Are students that come to support you later this month going to be joining something bigger than a joke party -- or will they be joining a fuckin movement?!
Bruce Haupt: I’m unsure how things will pan out in the Spring, but seriously dude, we definitely are a fuckin movement. Who else is having a party in their pants with an open invitation to all?