Friday, February 16, 2007

E.J. Walicki Speaks



TR: Why are you running for SBT? And what direct experience, if any, do you feel you have for this position?

E.J.: I am excited to become a better leader on our campus and improve my leadership skills. This will provide me with the chance to make UF a better place for all students. For the past few years I have had the pleasure of representing mainly the on-campus residents. Now I have a chance to represent the whole student body. I have been involved in SG through replacement senate seats and committees but never to the level that I wanted to, but now I can. It was the position that fit my leadership style, my abilities, and my experiences.

I have held leadership positions at the University of Florida for the past four years. I was the IRHA Auditor, which is the chief financial officer of the organization. I have sat in during the last four budget hearings for IRHA, and the last three for Residence Hall Week (IRHA's special event). As President, I still have to review and approve any SARs for our organization. I have worked with Student Body Treasurers and the finance office and I know what my fellow organizational Presidents want to see from the SBT. I understand what student groups go through during the budget hearings and what we can work to improve upon for next year. I have also served on committees ranging from Transportation and Parking, to the Faculty Senate, to University Employee Searches. All these are important in understanding how UF works and how we can work with other areas of the university to offer the best resources and services to our students.


TR: What are some issues that you feel are of particular importance to you? And what innovations, if any, do you have for the office of SBT?

E.J.: There are two issues that are of importance to me. The first one is safety. Our students need to know that this is a place where they are safe and secure. We need to make sure that we are doing everything we can so they do not have that anxiety while they are here. By increasing the ARREST programming we will give the students more education on how they can take proper precautions to protect themselves from violent acts. This also gives them more opportunities to attend and take advantage of these programs.

Then we have sustainability. It's everywhere on this campus. The university is taking strides to make this campus that way and I see no reason why we shouldn’t try it for Student Government. We should be setting the example for sustainable initiatives and practices. A big goal of mine is to identify where we can be more environmentally-friendly in the third floor offices.

There are a few innovations that I have been thinking of for SBT. First, I want organizations to put down dates for their programs when the go through budget hearings. This way, my staff and I can look at their budget, see when the program is, and send out a reminder 6 weeks or so before time to submit their SARs for the event if they have not done so. I don't want student organizations, the finance office, or myself to be rushing around at the last minute for these requests. If I am reminding them about submitting SARs, then they know they have been told about it. It's important to take a proactive stance on this issue. Also, if there are issues (with an office resigning or some communication problems) then we have 6 weeks to work it out instead of submitting the SAR right at the two week mark and possibly not having it approved. I want these programs to take place because I want the students to have the opportunity to partake in them. I also want to have a training session at the beginning of the fall semester where all presidents and treasurers come in to a group orientation session. There will still be individual training, but sometimes it is better if they see it first hand and someone will usually ask a question that another person may not want to ask or wouldn't think of during a one-on-one meeting.


TR: In what ways, if any, does this new Gator Party differ from the Boyles' Swamp Party? Do you feel that being dubbed the mainstream or FBK-backed party does Gator justice? Why or why not?


E.J.: Gator is very much its own party. We have a fresh, diverse group of people on our Senate slate. In fact, only 6 of our 45 slated Senators were previously registered with Swamp. With a group assembled from all corners of this campus, we are able to design a new platform with innovative ideas. Yes, CD course packs is one that has carried over but that has been an issue that Ryan has been working on and we feel it is beneficial for the students. I do feel that our big focus is on the relationship between SG and the students. Our ticket is going to be very proactive in reaching out to students and student groups, not waiting for them to come to us.

I don't think being dubbed the "mainstream" party even matters. If putting qualified candidates for our executive ticket and having a very impressive and diverse senate slate is considered mainstream, then I will take it every election. We want to have the greatest impact on the student body and the Gator Party has the best people to do that. Everyone who is involved with the campaign has worked hard in their time at UF and it is the students that have been, and will be the ones benefiting from it.


TR: To your knowledge, has the Gator Party run a clean campaign up to this point and should your party ever consider carrying out ethically-questionable tactics, what would your response be? As the SBT, how informed are you of campaign-related operations?

E.J.: We have run a clean campaign. Everything we tell candidates and volunteers is about being positive and focusing on the experience of our ticket and slate, as well as the issues and concrete goals that we have set forth. We are committed to an upbeat campaign that will benefit the students. I stay very well informed from a variety of the staff who is working on this campaign.

TR: There have been alleged sightings of Tommy Jardon leading a group of unknowns around the Reitz Union. Witnesses aren't can't make a clear ID, but they have seen what resembles a shoe-shine-box. Has Tommy or any member of Action shined your shoes or that of any candidate of the Gator Party?

THIS WAS A JOKE QUESTION, JOKE!

E.J.: The only person who has been shining my shoes is me (with a few tips from my dad).

TR: What are you feelings on CLAS cuts and the growing concerns that some of UF's best professors are in fact on their way out? Do you feel that there is any way SG can have an impact on this realm of campus policy or do you think SG's critics use to SG's detriment since student officials are virtually powerless on the matter?

E.J.: These CLAS cuts are such a huge issue because so many students are affected by the college. I don't like to see cuts because then you are taking away services to the students, but the college is having some financial trouble so they need to be doing that. Until they can get back to normal or get increased sources of funding, it would not make sense (fiscally) for them to operate at the same level. I do think SG can have an impact on this area and should work hard to do so. Let's have students sit down with the Provost, the Dean of the College, some professors, etc. and look at the budget. The issues in CLAS affect so many students, so they should be involved with this process. If there is one thing I have noticed about the students at UF is that we should not be underestimated. We are smart and full of ideas. If we see something in the budget that seems out of place or there is a flaw in a certain policy, we will find it. I hope students will not be ignored because we could find something that the administration may overlook.

TR: Tell us about your presidential candidate, what qualities do you believe he possesses (aside from a number of SG titles) that truly make him a better choice to lead students than PANTS Presidential candidate Bruce Haupt?

E.J.: Ryan has a great vision for what he wants for the University of Florida and what the relationship between SG and the students should be. He is willing to go out there and start reaching out to students so they know what SG does for them. He understands the time commitments that being SBP takes; he has been around it for a year as an executive officer. He is familiar with the staff, the administrators, and the students.

TR: Any parting words?

E.J.: I am extremely excited for this election, to be running, and to be able to answer some questions. I want the students to get excited and get out there and vote this year. We have a great group of individuals in the Gator Party and I am privileged to be running with them. They work hard and it shows.

42 comments:

old school said...

Christian, I sent you a couple of emails. Your blog is always a fun read. I still don't understand half the stuff going on at UF SGA today, but your perspective is interesting. The stuff on Charlie is interesting.

I am not at UF anymore (I am at the State's number 1 law school, FSU, which the rankings will show in one month, which also has a number of Gator alumni). Guys be nice and don't write negative stuff about each other. Independents, I know it is fustrating dealing with the FBK people, but be nice to them and don't write negative stuff. I know it is especially hard for nongreeks to see other nongreeks join up with FBK. Indies if it makes you feel better, your friends (and enemies) in FBK are going to be in the same position you are in a couple of years. FBK isn't going to do anything really to advance them above you in real life.

FBK people, don't be too hard on the independents. Its like kicking a man when he is down, you guys are on top and they are down in the student scene. Remember your conduct right now is a reflection of who you will become when you grow up.

God is great even if we are not! The sun will come out tommorow.

Anonymous said...

Hey Old School, great words of wisdom.

If we all try to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign this should be a great election. There's no need to go negative!

Anonymous said...

Nobody got burned by Gator. Tommy Jardon, Ben Grove, Ryan Day, and a few others slated and did not get the spots. We knew that was a possibility going into slating. We didn't ask specifically for these positions or any others in agreeing to help the Gator campaign. We simply knew Ryan was far-and-away the best candidate for SBP.

We were told our people would be given fair consideration when any spot opened up, and that no positions had been promised to anyone. So in these slatings we were given a fair shot, and someone else was the better candidate for it. There will be other oppurtunities to get involved, and its not a big deal that we weren't slated. We're still more than happy and willing to help and make sure Gator is elected without losing a single seat.

And once more... I ask Christian if you're going to harp on promised positions we supposedly got (like I don't know senate seats) please produce evidence of them or else back off of them.

Anonymous said...

Christian, is it really that hard to imagine that the Gator Party is not as evil as you believe?

Christian Duque said...

If I believed Gator to be evil, I wouldn't be interviewing their candidate for SBT. Once again, as I always say dear friends: actions speak louder than words ;c)

However I make no bones about publicly supporting PANTS. There is a difference though.

will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
will said...

One day i'll learn how to use blogger.

Christian: No, they don't have a "keen" grasp of state politics. If they did they'd know his father was careful not to have any of the Church's support in his race around the year 2000. It was only after he was elected that Brian's father worked with the Church. This wasn't to get reelected, from what I read he was very popular. In his original election he avoided contributions from Church supporters' because they had sunk previous candidates.

Instead they linked Clearwater to Scientology, which while right for a lot of points isn't very accurate when it comes to politics.

I may have issues with Brian but lets keep it real.

Anonymous said...

Both parties may be uninformed, but word from Faculty Senate President Danaya Wright is that minus grades may not be adopted at the earliest, Fall 2008. President Machen is deliberately taking his time to decide whether he signs or vetoes the proposal.

Anonymous said...

The Radikal in the nude is so much better.

Anonymous said...

Any chance the Nina interview will be up sometime considering you said it would appear back in December?...

Christian Duque said...

The NINA interview itself was conducted at Maude's in late January. Edit 1 is nearing completion but there was just SOOO much stuff that I've had my hands full. Time to go out on the town, thanks for your question :)

Anonymous said...

I predict that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Daytona 500

ym said...

Good job to the Pants Party on the You Tube Commercials... unfortunately, just like the blogs, nobody will see them. But well done

will said...

ym: Thanks. Agreed.

Anonymous said...

I love the You Tube video idea so much! It's just a shame that it was so poorly executed. The filming is very fuzzy, Bruce looks incredibly uptight, and the fact that it isn't even slightly subtle makes it a poor imitation of a really good ad campaign, rather than reaching the potential it could have had.

Anonymous said...

I love the Chomp the Vote idea so much! It's just a shame that it was so poorly executed. The planning was nonexistence, the staff didn't show, and the fact that the election crept up on them makes it a imitation of a really good idea, rather than reaching the potential it could have had.

Pants Party may screw up a few ads but we don't screw up SG.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness, aren't we tetchy. Can't even accept the part of it that was a compliment?

Anonymous said...

My only real problem with it is the poor lighting and fuzziness. I think small errors and lack of subtlety make a better point, and also show off the kind of underdog feeling associated with the party.

Anonymous said...

9:31 PM: I think an acknowledgment of some weak videos was in implicit in my post. My point is we are running against those who screw up more than their ads (like Chomp the Vote).

Anonymous said...

Ha ha Dale Earnhardt didn't win.

Anonymous said...

Pants seems like a bunch of very bitter kids. Not so much indies, fighting for what is right, as much as rich kids who have been snubbed by the system. I assure you if Bruce had been tapped he wouldn't be running.

Christian Duque said...

Bruce is a just one man. While I have a great deal of respect and admiration for him, who's to know what would have happened had be been tapped or if this or if that.

Despite the treason committed by the Indies (and I'm getting a lot of *please don't publish this* kind of emails expressing remorse and secret plans somehow making their act seem less scummy), had Bruce not been the chosen one, the new leader to emerge, it might have been David, Will, Elizabeth, it might have been Gavin Baker...

Point is...even the treachery committed by the Action Executive (for whatever their reasons...) the Independent Spirit at UF remains strong and adversity...Gators...the independent movement THRIVES on adversity.

God Bless The Indies!

Jordan said...

"Not so much indies, fighting for what is right, as much as rich kids who have been snubbed by the system."

I'd really like to see you try to back that up with some reasoning. The system was working for me, but I realized it wasn't doing what was right for the students, thus I left the system.

All of our senate candidates exemplify what it means to be a true independent. They care more about the students than the line on the resume.

You make one (false) sweeping generalization based on Bruce not being offered membership in a club. Your reasoning and attacks truly show the wrong thinking happening in SG.

Anonymous said...

i wish the rich kids rumor was true... :)

bruce

Anonymous said...

Jordan you're sadly mistaken. Every reason why Pants should be elected is some pot shot at Gator. Pants is a party run not on ideals but out of frustration.

Frustration that "indies" just DO NOT have the qualifications that the Gator slate does. The Gator slate includes a good number of non-group non-fraternity associated candidates who are very well qualified just like those candidates who are in groups or fraternities.

For the most part the Pants party is a bunch of kids who couldn't get on another slate because they aren't QUALIFIED.

Being a true independent is making an informed decision about who can do the job best. Not "rebelling" and trying to trick students into picking the lesser selection just because you want it.

will said...

Pants supporters are bitter? How about the Unite/Action now Gator supporters?

Jesus.

Anonymous said...

At least the Action Party people had their own platform. Pants only goal is to discredit Gator.

Unfortunately for Pants, Gator has pretty much created the perfect executive ticket.

Anonymous said...

"At least the Action Party people had their own platform. Pants only goal is to discredit Gator."

Water Slide Brilliant
Student Bill of Rights They were liberal feel good crap.
Moes What is this?

Same:
Grad travel grants

Non Cross over:
Free Blue books. I like that a lot

Anonymous said...

I think its pretty laughable that Pants puts things on their platform like Travel Grants, or Oppose Minus Grades....

Suddenly they care about this stuff? People involved with Gator have pretty much been the only people making strides in these directions.

Where was Pants at the faculty meeting on Minus Grades? Nowhere to be found. Now that people are voting it sure looks nice on the platform but in all honesty Pants could care less, it just sounds good.

Try showing up next time?

And don't say you somehow got left out and couldn't get involved because the people advocating these issues have actually never held senate seats or any elected/appointed positions in Gator, they're volunteers!

Anonymous said...

I just read the Pants platform and cannot believe they put minus grades on it. Where were they during the Faculty Senate meeting on Dec. 15? Ryan, Yooni, EJ, Ryan Day were all there. Where were their letters to the Alligator? Where were their facebook groups? You cannot just take an issue that people have spent dozens of hours on and claim it as your own. Especially without having ANY plan on getting it done.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the girl who fought against minus grades passed up for slating again? ACM may support the Gator Party but they clearly don't like her.

will said...

If they spend some time implementing it better I have no problems with minus grades. If your grad school recalculates your GPA (Like all law schools) you lose a 0.167 of the B+. They just need to add an A+ (4.33) and I would be good to go. Sadly, no one agrees with me. UF's GPA actually hurts pre-law.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing me up. I don't have the time for senate and probably would've turned down slating. Homecoming has pretty much taken over my life. I'm definitely a Gator Party volunteer though. Go Gator!
-ACM

Anonymous said...

ACM, "I didn't want it anyway." Bullshoot. Why else did you keep applying for replacement positions?

Anonymous said...

Logically, that would be because she didn't have the Homecoming position yet.

Anonymous said...

If you can't defend the issue just attack the person.

The core Pants ideal which has been illustrated several times.

Anonymous said...

You must not know Aimee. Liked by none but tolerated by all.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:06 --> that made me laugh. So true!

Anonymous said...

You must not know Aimee. Liked by none but tolerated by all.

You must not know Aimee. I love people who attack others behind the guise of anonymity. Issues, policies, people actually running for something fine... but there's no point in attacking a volunteer. Get a lfie.

Anonymous said...

You people have no shame. Insulting volunteers? Aimee is a sweet girl who isn't getting anything out of the Gator Party for her efforts. Insulting her is about as honorable as kicking puppies.

Anonymous said...

And, for that matter, shame on you Christian for allowing it.

Mike, 2BA said...

The difference between the Pants Party's Elizabeth Stinson and the Gator Party's EJ Walicki is almost a joke. Today's Gainesville Sun, a paper that no one can say is biased either way, wrote about both Treasurer candidate's experience and vision. EJ blew the competition away. He's the only one with concrete financial experince, and that experince came in a student-run organization that gave him full responsibilty for its budget. The most Elizabeth could come back with was some patchy experience with Model UN, a real forum to make tough decisions that impact the lives of thousands of students(ya right!). EJ = trusted financial experience. Elizabeth
=needs some financial experience.