Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Nina DeJong Interview

[02/04/07 Maude's] TheRadikal:When did you arrive at UF and how did you get involved in Student Leadership?

Nina DeJong: I came to UF in 2003, this is my fourth year, and I graduate in May. I think four years is a good amount of time to stay, unless you're doing engineering or something like that and need to stay longer. I'm from South Carolina and only applied to schools out of state because I wasn’t a huge fan of SC. My mom was a Kappa at Cornell and she was the one who encouraged me to join a sorority.

I got involved in leadership through Kappa. I hung around the house all the time and I made friends with a lot of the older sisters. My first position of leadership was as a Fall 2004 Access senator.

Inside story: Spring '03 our FBK leader was telling us all about the open positions, and I showed some interest, although she didn't explain senate very well to me at the time. She got a group of us who thought they were going to slate, but then that day I had a huge test, and I was like "I'm not going to do this today." And since a group was already going to slate for Kappa, I didn't think me not showing up could be a problem.

Apparently somebody had slated my name and I hadn't gone to be interviewed and so I get three phone calls after my chemistry test from three different girls I didn't even know (they were all graduate or law students) in FBK, and they were telling me basically that ' Because I didn’t go to the interview,' that I made the house look bad, 'don't expect to run for anything else again, because we won't support you,' and just basically told me that I had flat out made a huge horrible sin for not going to slate.

I kinda showed them and I feel really good about that! They were just trying to intimidate me and it didn't work! Ever since then our house has gotten rid of that mentality. I'm really proud of what our house stands for in UF politics and Greek affairs no matter how significant or insignificant it may be.

TR: As a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma what roles have you held in the sorority? Also what are some of the service/philanthropy projects you are most proud of having participated on?

NINA: President, Vice President (which works with Alumni Relations), liaison to SG, and Scholarship Committee. As far as philanthropies, this is where Greeks get a bad name. They're mostly not geared toward the community, rather at just making money using the Greek population and not caring how high-quality the event is. We used to have softball and bowling tournaments but turnout was less than great.

Our new philanthropy is a wing eating contest aimed at the community, where families could bring their kids and raise money that way. It's kind of geared towards fraternity guys as well.

As far as service, one thing I'm proud of was a simple fundraising event I organized post-Katrina. I put signs up around the house signs asking members to bring $10 to chapter for an unknown reason. In 15 minutes we raised $1,000 at chapter. Once everyone knew what what the money was for, they had to help out.

TR: Could you explain to what extent, if any, does the Panhellenic Council play on Student Government? Also, how do sororities go about selecting a party to support and what consequences can rogue sororities expect?

NINA: To be perfectly honest I think there are meetings that go on about which party to support, but we're not particularly invited. It's a group of eight houses that think they're important. PC doesn't really act as a political force in SG. There's cohesion in the PC itself, but as far as SG it's really every house for herself.

TR: Why did you choose to run for Student Body Vice President? At any point in time were you advised against and/or intimidated against running? And do you feel your candidacy put your house in harms way as far taps, appointments in SG, or with the Panhellenic Council?

TR: I was in DC for the summer going to a lot of different Women's leadership forums dealing with hierarchies in the real world and I correlated these to UF. While I was there, Adelle [Fontanet] called and told me I should run for Vice President as Lydia [Washington] had to resign. So the first thing I did was interview for John Boyles.

TR: How real of an interview was it?

NINA: Well it was a phone interview for me. I gave him stellar responses with Ryan [Moseley] and him asking me questions regarding what ideas I had for the upcoming semester.

TR: Now, are you in {Florida] Blue Key?
NINA: No, I've been denied twice.
TR: No shame in that from where I'm sitting.
NINA: [laughs] I know that.

More Into FBK:

TR: You're not bitter about FBK are you?
NINA: Am I bitter? Of course I'm bitter. How can you not be bitter? Especially when you think you are totally qualified for something.
TR: I mean sorority president is a long as you oversee a budget over $30k.

NINA: I don't know...we don't have anybody in [Florida] Blue Key right now, nobody's fighting for me, no incentive to fight for me.
TR: You know I still have my doubts about the Fall election.
NINA: You know what's really funny is that Brian Aungst ... when I had my FBK interview there were seven men in the room, one of them was Brian Aungst, they only woman was Nina Vag, and all of these older white guys, old men.

TR: Old people? Like how old?
NINA: Old people, like 50's, 60's; old white men, like five of them. The only thing that they asked me was exactly how many hours of community service I'd done and my major (same exact thing as the year before). And I was just like, 'what are you doing? What's the point of this?'

TR: Do you think your campaign hindered your chances?
NINA: No, or at least in principle it shouldn’t. There was no one in Kappa to fight for me. Plain and simple.
TR: Were you in Savant?
NINA: No [laughs]. I think that's silly. What is that?
TR: Well Savant used to be the women's version of FBK prior to FBK allowing women to join in the 1960's.
NINA: Oh...they don't do anything.

So there were other people interviewing, there was the younger of the Goodwin sisters, I was hearing that name being thrown around.

TR: She's running for Vice President now.
NINA: Is she?
TR: Yeah.
NINA: I'm not surprised. So I'd heard her name and Arturo's.
TR: He's basically a yes-yes man.
NINA: Well sure.
TR: He's in deep with Pedro Allende and all that.

NINA: I know that. I know he won't have any political impact, he's just a place-holder for FBK, I understand that. So I didn't get the position, Arturo did, and that made me all the angrier b/c it looked like a handout to me, where yes I'm sure he did a wonderful job in undergrad positions and not doubting his leadership abilities, but the mere principal that he's in law school, has as I would imagine many other priorities when you're in your second year of law school than worrying about programming for undergraduates. I didn't see the connection or the purpose for him running. And finally I was angry that another guy was going to be put in a top position.

TR: And the Vice-Presidency is really the third position, where the women have been placed (Puckett, Medina, Washington).

NINA: Sure. [laughs] I know. The point was there was no women's representation. I think women need one of those spots, I think women need to have other women to look up to. I looked up to Jennifer Puckett, whenever she'd come into senate. She was always very professional and working with these men at the same level, so what if it was V.P., at least it was something. And the point is if you’ve got women as Vice President, the hope is that eventually they'll get to President and Treasurer.

TR: Any offers not to run?

NINA: No. Honestly. A few people, old people in [Florida] Blue Key. I didn't really play it up until I got my signatures. I didn't cut any deals, I'm very proud of the way we ran our campaign.

TR: During the Fall campaign, Armand took heat from the Alligator for defending the SG Banquet tradition, however, when senators Baker & Morales tried on separate instances to reform these expenses, the senate voted down their measures, proving that SG seems supportive of the tradition. This having been said, what are your opinions on this event and where the funding for it comes from?

NINA: I've never gone. I do believe in keeping that tradition and honoring people that have worked hard in a cost effective way. I think people use this to symbolize SG corruption, but this is really not the problem. Student leadership is volunteer-based and the banquet provides some incentive. But I don't think there's anything wrong with the principle of it.

TR: On the topic of the Alligator, they seemed somewhat against your campaign at first (questioning the feminist element, your lack of a stand on issues), but then endorsed you? How real was the support?

NINA: Basically it was just speculation; they hadn't talked to me yet. Until I released my platform and started actually campaigning they didn't know who I was as a person or what I stood for -- it was just talk they'd heard on the grapevine. However, when I went into the interview, they saw that I was experienced; I sold it; I liked them and they liked me. It was a real endorsement. I didn't go in there with any bullshit agenda, I was honest with them and that was that.

TR: Had you won office, what are some of the programs and/or improvements you would have carried out in cabinet? Also do you believe cabinet is allocated sufficient funds to operate properly?

NINA: My platform was basically women. I would have done like they do in the real Congress and immediately held a forum with women focusing on why we don't have as many women in leadership roles and SG or entering FBK. Is it because women aren't getting involved until they're juniors or seniors? "Is it b/c people are afraid of this male-greek power vote? Is it legacies?" I would have created a Women's Caucus (crossing party lines).

Also, I'd organize more organizational outreach, helping organizations register through all the new technologies out there, as well as in making budgets and special requests. I'd also try to get more people to work on environmental issues, making the cabinets more efficient. I mean we have an environmental affairs cabinet and I can't tell you a single thing they've done.

I would have also started conversations with the Office of Sustainability. I would start planning projects with the Multicultural Affairs cabinet for one major multi-cultural event instead of many poorly-attended events. Also having all the tools available for new students to get involved, especially since most people don't find out about this till sophomore or junior year. Lastly I'd keep cabinet small and effective; I voted against the recent cabinet expansion, primarily because as "majors" these offices were created to get people into Florida Blue Key.

The money, cabinet could do with a little more, but I see cabinet as more of an administrative body.

TR: Had there been a runoff leaving Swamp & Action for the second round, what would have been your course of action?

NINA: I wouldn't have supported either of them, because neither of them had a woman candidate; I mean that was the issue. I had already been approached by Chris Chase saying "we'll endorse you, if you endorse us" in a runoff and simply said, "I'm not endorsing anyone, sorry," that would have gone completely against the message.

TR: Name Association Time:

Ryan Moseley - we both started at the same time; he found a strategically-placed wave for him and rode it. He did a good job as treasurer, but treasurer is not about good ideas, it's accounting.

John Boyles - Shiney (the other day saw him on campus, with his hair slicked back). Things that are shiney look good on the outside, but at the core? I don't know?

I think he's a good person, I supported his candidacy, but I think he just lost touch. On the surface he was caring about students, but he says he's not about politics in his culture...and I just don't know...
TR: From Access to Cigar Puffing...
NINA: That's what angered me most. When they lit the cigars... that actually made me cry in my car.

Josh Weiss - Jolly. He has issues he works on, he comes from the AEPi political machine (which I don't support), but I would have supported him for president.

Sam Green - [rolls eyes] [long pause] [real long pause] Well... we worked together to assess the situations at La Casita and the IBC in attempts to make some improvements, and I would have thought he would have had more interest, it's his house he always goes to, the IBC. I didn't have a personal connection to either, but I wanted to help.

He just wasn't into it and I wasn't impressed with his work ethic. He's just kind of there. He just goes to things, and that is about it. He is just not effective and doesn't get things done.

TR: What presidential success do you think he would have had? I mean you know they blocked him from FBK?
NINA: I don't blame them, he doesn’t have the grades.
TR: But he's the highest ranking African American in SG.
NINA: So...[laughs] it's because he's gotten handouts.

Bruce Haupt - Bruce is great, he has great ideas.

Kevin Bacon - Very dedicated, I like him; he was my treasurer; over-analyzes.

Gavin Baker - [Pauses] Ok, my opinion's skewed. I was in a class with him where we worked on a project that he didn't help out on. Good voice in student government, very democratic in his thought process.

Lydia Washington - very passionate about cabinet, but honestly an opportunity for me.

Adelle Fontanet - Genuine, caring, passionate, wonderful friend. She encouraged me to do this.

Arturo Armand - [long pause] Mr. Armand, umm...image of him with Cuban cigar. He has nothing to say. I wouldn't even listen to him if he was speaking.

Ryan Nelson - He's great, best SG friend.

Allison Cullin - Oh [laughs]...met during recruitment. Very casual hi & bye.

Pedro Morales - The one people listened to in Senate, or at least should listen to.

TR: Based on the current showdown between the mighty Gator Party and the brave independent Pants Party who do you see yourself supporting in the upcoming elections?

NINA: Not getting involved. Bruce talked to me. I met with Josh Weiss' rep in November and Moseley and I just didn't make any commitments.

TR: If you had to vote?
NINA: There are only two choices?
TR: Yeah.
NINA: [mumbles] That sucks. Umm..
TR: How would you vote today? Not at the elections, just right here, right now?

NINA: I'd vote for Bruce. [pauses] Well, wait a minute now. Is Bruce in grad school? I wouldn't vote for any of them honestly. I mean some grad representation is good, but the bulk of SG should be for undergrads. I mean what's with Arturo, a second year law student dealing with primarily undergraduate programming? I didn't think it was right.

The whole point is for undergrads to develop this tool to interact properly and get involved in politics. When you're in law school or graduate school, you should be on your way to getting involved in real politics. So as of today, I don't know who I'd vote for.

I will say during the Fall I voted mixed slate.

TR: Did you vote for any men?
NINA: I'm in District A.
TR: Sororities
NINA: If that's the only way to get women in, then so be it.

TR: How would you rate the Boyles/Swamp administration? With Boyles conducting a recent student workshop, with an attendance of "2," do you think his party has lost touch with students?

NINA: I don't know what they're doing. I couldn't tell you a single thing they've done. Basically the role I've seen SG play recently has been to serve as a place for people to play politics, 'show you how government works.' Even like the Bush administration, for 8yrs, what has he done? Exact same thing and he wasn't even technically elected. Corruption is there too.

TR: Any parting words?

NINA: I really enjoyed the interview! Thank you so much for providing an outlet for people in UF politics to get to know others another, more personal, or perhaps more political level. It has been quite a ride. All the best.


Anonymous said...

Why would she give all that money to Katrina victims? If she wants to be in FBK she could have learned something from Ryan Day.

Anonymous said...

martin scorsace won!

Anonymous said...

Ryan Day who has no majors...

~Ryan Day

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness I like what Nina did and think she was good for showing that the independent community is not a certain group of people, or any defineable contingency.

Thanks Nina for repping independents everywhere no matter their affiliations.

~Ryan Day

Anonymous said...

Why should people listen to Pedro Morales? All he did was back Unite based on ethnic affiliations, split the GPSC and end up costing Tof, Billy, and Jeremiah their Senate seats.

Anonymous said...

The indies backed her Ryan. They didn't back you which is why your deal is crap. We will get back our appointments.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:24, you are Tommy Jardon and I claim my five pounds.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed her interview, I don't know her. I thought her interview and the one you did a couple of months ago with Argento were the most thoughtful interviews so far. The fact that people like her and argento never joined FBK (She got denied and he said he never applied) shows me that the club really doesn't know and go after true leadership on campus. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz was another one who was denied Blue Key and is now in Congress, so I guess it really didn't matter.

The interview with Aungst and EJ just weren't as good because they are still invovled. When you have nothing to lose and aren't involved, I think that helps.

Anonymous said...

I thought Wasserman-Shultz never applied?

Anonymous said...

I think she was told not to apply. I don't know actually. She was a student senate president and IRHA member.

Also not just those mentioned, but there were a lot of great students who never got fbk at UF.

Gavin Baker said...

Haha, Christian, you shouldn't have asked her about me. When I started reading the interview, I immediately had a flashback to that class. Ironically, it was right at the time I was getting into SG, and I was finding it a lot more interesting than the class, and I basically bailed on the group. I failed the project (and the class) and I'm sure Nina aced it. I told the professor it was all my fault so I'm sure he didn't hold it against the group.

FWIW, my impression of Nina was always that she was very bright and a hard worker. Her commitment to improving the status of women is commendable, if a bit one-sided.

What I would have liked you to ask was: Why didn't you run a party? There was a time, pretty late in the game, when Action still didn't have a VP candidate. As I recall, we did reach out to her, and she declined. Even if we hadn't contacted her, she would have known that we were planning to run a party. Why didn't she want to work with the party that was being formed? Or, why not form her own party, rather than running just as an independent? I'm not saying she should have done one thing or another, I just always wondered.

Anonymous said...

Well. The Alligator, much to the dismay of former editors and SG Reporters, endorses the Gator Party.

james dean said...

Can we simply take a moment to reflect on how hot Nina really is?





Thanks. Back to your regularly scheduled mindless bickering.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. "Former SG Editors and Reporters?" So many people have worked for the 'gator. Don't make it sound like this elite group of past journalists have passed judgement and disapproval on the Gator Party and those damn young whippersnappers at the Alligator.

Anonymous said...

Pants has run the dirtiest campaign I have ever seen. A true Indie party usually holds itself to a higher standard, I am dissapointed in the Indie legacy that I left at UF.

Heck, if Pants does win I bet Gator would have enough complaints to have it thrown out. Pants has made this more about themselves fighting the system than the actual students. They are completely off kilter in idealogy. Pants just comes off as a bunch of bitter kids.

We are not indies becuase we have been shut out the system, but becuase we honestly care for the best interest of the students. Pants is no indie party.

Anonymous said...

Boyles didn't smoke a "victory cigar..." Just because the alligator doesn't know grammar and that article made it seem that way...

Anonymous said...

2:15 AM:You clearly work for the Alligator, learn how to fucking quote.

Anonymous said...

2:29: Josh. Quit pretending to have graduated. What a tard.

Anonymous said...

Here is the inside scoop. No one on the current edboard ever covered SG and has turned off both prev editors and reporters. They think they are being daring when they have destroyed any credibility with their ombudsman.

Anonymous said...

She has a reckless mouth. It's not classy to throw people under the bus like that...

Anonymous said...

]10:44: If they were remotely honorable they wouldn't find themselves under the bus. At least Gator has Mosley, he is one competent mofo.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah. We got the endorsement, you didn't, and who in the general population really knows or cares if you claim that we got it because the editors were trying to be daring? All that matters is we got it.

Anonymous said...

Boyles and Armand are the least out of touch of any exec officers in recent history. How many events do they still attend with the students? At least 2 or 3 a week that I see them at and that is just my organization! Maybe Nina is the one who is out of touch... And remember Goldberg? He wasn't even in classes! Talk about out of touch! Those of you, like Nina, who want to stake such claims about two great leaders should figure out some facts first and get plugged into the student bod before running your mouths. Boyles and Lydia always worked to best represent the students in every way possible and to be connected to them. Just because you are bitter that you didn't get to do what you want doesn't mean you should accuse those who were able to make it to where you wish you could go. Besides which if you claim to be a leader, why didn't you go and speak to them personally about their performance in office instead of on a blog? Boyles and Armand have continued to be down to Earth and work for the students while being visible, but I guess all you care about is your 5 minutes of fame on a blogsite.

- a now disillussioned with the indie movement indie

Anonymous said...

"a now disillussioned with the indie movement indie"

And Kim is a former playboy bunny.

Anonymous said...

God. Pants suck. Go fuck yourself.

Anonymous said...

I bet the Pants exec was too busy screwing Stinson and Rizzo to actually get anything done. Why do those two need to sleep around to get any leadership position?

Ha. We indys are the true Indys now. We said "fuck you" to the old system and with real independence joined Gator.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to keep claiming to be a "true indie," the rest of us would appreciate it if you learned to spell it right.

And there's no need to insult Eve and Stinson. Liz has a boyfriend, who has every right to be screwing her if he so chooses, but it's classless to claim that either of them are sleeping around for their positions.

Pants slated the best people they could get for those positions; they can't help it that their best wasn't good enough.

Anonymous said...

And Eve has a boyfriend as well.

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

lay off the girls

Anonymous said...

see how it feels when we go after your girls? you shouldn't have started trashing acm and kim and caitlin.

Chris said...

Great interview. Real and to the point. As an outsider, at this point, I don't know the politics of why Ms. DeJong did not get accepted into FBK. It sounds like she would be a good fit (hard working, dedicated, and smart). Good job Christian.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right, Kim, and Aimee never have posted on here before. Ever. Ok. And they never said anything mean or malicious about anyone on this blog either. They are the most positive, sweet people I know. And I'm the bloody queen of England. Plus, Elizabeth and Eve were being trashed on here long before anyone said anything about Aimee or Kim.

frank sinatra said...

Sexually frustrated much, guys?

Kim, Aimee, Liz, AND Eve are a hell of a lot more classier than you worthless bastards.

Just because you didn't have a date to senior prom doesn't mean all women are evil whores. It just means you suck. Cheers.

will said...

You sick fucks need a life.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, every minute you're wasting posting on here is another 5 votes that you could've won. Keep it up and maybe you can boast negative numbers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Will. (We can agree!)

~Ryan Day

Christian Duque said...

I'm surprised that no from the FBK side has tried refuting NINA. I'm also surprised not to hear from Mr. Sam Green or Mr. Arturo Armand...then again they probably don't visit TR, yeah right! lol

Also where are the women? I thinkt NINA's interview is surely one of the very best. :)

Anonymous said...

No one is refuting Nina because no one cares about Nina.

Anonymous said...

Florida Blue Key will not affiliate with any of this discourse. It purely serves as a leadership honorary on the University of Florida campus, and wishes to promote Gator spirit to all students!

Matt said...

I just wanted to say thankyou to Bruce and other pants party members for the worst attempt to win an election in recent history..

I really loved listening to Eve debate at the FLC event by claiming cabinet never puts on programing (she was at a program). Also, I thought it was humorus to hear that the pants party wants to cut FLC-- they were not winning ANY votes at that debate.

Bruce "shits weak" said...

Does anyone notce how terrible looking every person is with a Pants shrit on? I mean those are the kids that are laughed at in highschool.

It kinda make me sad to know that these people are so terrible..

Anonymous said...

you dumb fuck. pants doesn't want to cut FLC. Combining cabinets doesn't mean that they are going to cut the small number of useful programs that Cabinet has. They are simply trying to cut out all the crap cabinet positions. Spreading rumors like that to cover up for the fact that Gator and it's "parking lot cameras" platform sucks is really classy.

Christian Duque said...

Bruce bettered himself, rose to prominence and you just hate that. Don't be so cranky, be GAY!

james dean said...

That's offensive. Please respect my sexual orientation, and I'll respect your's.

Christian Duque said...

It has nothing to do with sexual orientation and your little shakedown won't work here. :)

Anonymous said...

Christian's usage of Gay is actually correct; however, his former use of the word means he's just being a douchebag here.

Anonymous said...

Look at the Alligator's poll results on the endorsement: Results

-Ryan Day

dean martin said...

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Now somebody pour me a martini or three.

Benedict XVI said...

Re: your epigraph.

I support the Gator Party too.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify the above post is not me.

~Ryan Day

Anonymous said...

Yeah, NEITHER of those posts are actually me, but I'm quite flattered. Really.

~Ryan Day

old school said...

So Tuesday February 27th, the oldest University in the State of Florida holds its election. Yup, FAMU has student body elections tommorow, in which to the Torch Party is likely going to win.

You thought UF was the oldest university, well it really isn't FAMU is really older than both UF and FSU (don't believe the 1857, 1853, and 1851 stuff). These two institutions worked hard to find away to track their lieneage past FAMU's so the president's of those universities would not have to march behind the president of FAMU had precessions (because the older institution marches first).

Anonymous said...

Pants might possibly be the most unethical party of all time. If they win, they will ruin Student Government. No average student would want to associate with such scum.

Anonymous said...

Pants raped my whole family, they got the dog twice!

Anonymous said...

"split the GPSC and end up costing Tof, Billy, and Jeremiah their Senate seats."


Tof & Jeremiah fucked themselves the moment they signed with Swamp. Run with an exec that is not a grad or prfoessional student brilliant. They were weak in their college and got taken the fuck out. Please Kill yourselves