Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Independent Notebook


From Peter Gruskin
Fmr. Student Advocacy C.D. (2004)
Fmr. Access Party APC (F'04)
Fmr. Voice Party Treasurer (S'05)
Fmr. Voice Party President (F'05)


Being an "independent" in Student Government at the University of Florida means more than just not having party loyalty to one of the (sometimes only one) parties. If party loyalty was the only criteria to consider, every student who doesn't know the names of this year's (usually) greek and non-greek parties would be, by defintion, "an independent." Obviously, there is more to it than this.

The overarching definition of independence in my opinion, is a commitment to pluralism in SG. When a (usually Greek) party gives one senate seat to each house on Fraternity or Sorority Row, this is a strand of anti-democracy that an independent should be working against. Everyone knows that the name of the game is numbers: who can get the most houses on their side? Who can get the most money raised from big-name donors who are connected to UF via the Greek alumni world? I know, not all who help the Greek party are Greek--but I believe it is fair to view the system through this bias. Statistically, most years, the Greek party wins precisely because it has near unanimous support in the Greek community--people who almost unanimously turn out to vote for their slate.

Revolutions come and go in SG. The Access Party once demanded "access for all!" until they won the Executive on a groundswell of popularism thanks to pluralistic ideas. Then things changed. After Access won, the party leadership "sold old" to the Greek system--completely. I mean, there is not much to say in their defense. They claimed it was because they wanted to include the Greeks who were left out of the "Access Revolution," but by giving each fraternity one senate seat (literally giving it to them, since Access was basically running unopposed), they only decreased the voice of the independents and non-Greek 85% majority of campus. After all, why should each house have proportional or even equal representation? They are not the only living quarters for UF students. (Maybe all students who live in the dorms should be required to vote as a provision in their housing contract with UF.)

But then again, if Access can win as an independent party and just as quickly turn into the Greek party, maybe it is fair to say that the "independent" community in SG is weak. Those who are the strongest independents, in my opinion, have let their actions speak louder than their words. They have been working with the Pants party this past election, and with the past non-mainstream parties in years before. If these students were to disappear, the small group of independents that is left in campus politics would shrink even further into oblivion. Independents cannot let this happen.


Did You Vote Today?
My votes: Hanrahan, Fitzpatrick

Upcoming Stories...

Inside The Pants Party
Chomp The Vote: Who's Accountable?

Deal-Watch...

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

You don't need essays on what it is to be independent. While historical perspective is much appreciated there are better issues they could be discussing.

As far as being indie: Make up your own mind.

That's all you need to know.

~Ryan Day

Christian Duque said...

Ryan,

You will be given a chance to be interviewed, but this is...an Independent blog and after your decision to stand with the Machine over the Indies in this past election, I think it's rather ridiculous that any of you would cite the tenets of Indie thought.

Again, just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I hate that you call Access indie because it really wasn't. It was a mirror of the system. It said look what you taught me, and look how I'm going to use it against you.

As involved as many people felt in the campaign, Andre definitely ran Access the way Peter Allende runs the system.

Anonymous said...

Access was not run like the system campaign.

Also its so funny that Andre gets all the credit for that campaign, when people like Francis Harrell, Crystal Spearman, James Argento, Diane Kissim, and Alicia Philips were as much apart of that campaign as Andre (not that Andre doesn't deserve credit). Remember its not just one person behind a successful campaign, but many.

Anonymous said...

all decisions went thru alicia, diane, crystal, and andre. frances was there cuz they needed white people.

Anonymous said...

Why was Argento then, isn't he white, or Spanish?

Anonymous said...

They loaded up on whites so the campaign wouldn't be seen as minorities only. I know several prominent minority leaders who had to sit down to accommodate the presence of indies and IHRA people.

Anonymous said...

12:52 who are you, I am impressed with your knowledge

Anonymous said...

Access got brought up in the system, broke off and beat it at it's own game. It is not rocket science, what the Greeks have over the Independents is simply continuity. Greeks have a formula to win and they pass it down, the people who work on campaigns become advisors and stick around. Greeks win because they make it an issue to win.

Anonymous said...

While that certainly is part of it, there is also the fact that Greeks have an overwhelming man-power advantage.

As long as Greeks stay united and the commmon student can be kept from caring... the system will continue.

Christian Duque said...

While I appreciate your comments and love public discourse, many of you are way off. Let me clarify some key points.

1. Frances Harrell was a key leader (not a token of any sort). Without the SA Access would not have won; this is clear. There was a minor powerplay in the Student Alliance (remember SA had two campaigns under its belt and in some races the previous S'03 came within single digits of taking seats from Ignite, they were def. the GDI force). Frances kept SA in line and believe you me, there were times the SA leadership may have wanted to jump ship -- because as GDI's they didn't initially enjoy working alongside old Igniters'

2. James Argento may be a lot of things, wrestling fanatic, great person, social mogul but not token. James lent campaign expertise that will all due respect, was a little ahead of Samuels. Argento (despite having back Ignite briefly) was also the closest thing to a CG in the GDI community, he was respected and very knowledgeable. For guys like Peter and myself, James was our go-to-guy and we went to him A LOT!

3. Many people had roles. I personally embarked on a much-respected 40-Org Campaign Run, some groups were friendly, others had NEVER been approached by SG with memberships ranging from the low 20's to high 60's. People took stickers, shirts, they emailed even months after being elected!

4. And most key. No matter how you break it down, wherever Access came from, who taught it, or why it rose up...the fact that it did, the fact that it rose up makes it Indie.

Rogue FBK'ers stood up!
Rogue Greeks stood up!
Seasoned Indies stood up!
Concerned Students stood up!

&

When the Access Revolution fizzled, those that stood up in her defense, whether Rogue FBK'ers, Rogue Greeks, Seasoned Indies, or Concerned Students....they became GDI's because they put their love of the Party, their ideals, and most importantly their promise to give Access To All Students above titles, above spotlight, above personal interest.

Anonymous said...

Wow so Christian proves he has a skewed version of what Indie is.

Thanks ttyl!

Anonymous said...

Correction, Andre does not run the system in any way like Pedro. Pedro won 2/3 of the Senate seats that election despite having the cards stacked the other way, and then only lost the runoff when most of the greek houses sold out on Innovate and cut deals with Jamal. Yes, Jamal did cut "shady deals" with Greeks. "Access for all students", huh?

Anonymous said...

Yes, see Joe Goldberg as Senate President and Accent going to AEPi. Jamal and Andre were in bed with Delt, Aubuchon (who was FBK president at the time) and Burcieaga before the election even happened. If it hadn't been for Greek support they wouldn't have won.

Anonymous said...

i believe that Greek support helped in the initial election. The run off yielded so much more votes, though. They had strong turnout from the VISA community and other independents to get that extra 2,000 to 3,000 votes in the run off.

Christian Duque said...

You're crazy. Access had no organized Greek support, except for a piece of PIKE and a few supporters in houses. These anonymous trolls namedrop and have no clue.

Anonymous said...

As someone who was around, I can say Access had no real organized greek support in the original election, Didn't you read the interview Christian did with Argento. Look at the numbers. The Innovate party got the typical 4000 votes, that was without minorities. That meant greek houses could not have defected. And with the alligator so much against them, none of them really did.

A group of people including Josh, Burceiga, Goldberg were pulling for John Hooker. But Kyle Jones shut that down and put scott in. They all fell back into line or stayed neutral. I do know that Josalyn was pulling for Jamal. None of them were involved in campaigning for innovate, but were still on that side. All those guys were Jamal's friends as Jamal had been the system treasurer the year before, but they wanted nothing to do with him until he won.

If you were there on election night and saw the disappointment on all their faces when access won, you would have seen it. Because as much as they liked Jamal, it was still their system that loss.

However in the second election, you did see blue key people who were afraid to support jamal around because they knew access could win. I remember asking Frances Harrell and James Argento about it, when Access had a former fbk president and homecoming chair, two law students, as the Access Party legal counsels in the runoff(Andre was the one who had done all the hearings before). Frances wasn't bothered by it, and James goes something like "hey I waited 4 years for people to jump aboard a band wagon I helped to start, i ain't stopping them."

Anonymous said...

Hush Anon 12:42, that goes against the official Christian Duque version of history.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and if you go against what Duque says you are obviously not correct (or indie).

~Ryan Day

Christian Duque said...

Hardly...

Anonymous said...

Why don't we examine why Unite failed? They had Andre...

Anonymous said...

Unite failed becxause God would not allow such a thing to happen succesfully.

I'm not kidding.

Aimee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Unite was not even close to Access. They didn't have the AA community at all.

Francisco said...

Just a note that from the note I saw the Appeals Hearing for the UF Supreme Court for the JCB v Pants Party will be Thursday, March 8th in the Levin Law Room 180 @ 1:00PM.

At least according to what is posted at the SG offices.

Anonymous said...

Your view of that matter just shows how cut out of the picture you were with ACCESS. While you were running around talking to organizations, which was indeed very helpful to ur victory, the powers that were had been planning elaborate schemes to broker a victory. You can deny that this went on, but of course you weren't there for any of it. Neither was Frances or these other indies you so dearly claim.

Anonymous said...

9:11, what kinds of schemes?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:11 AM: Paranoid much???

Anonymous said...

wouldn't they have won more senate seats if there was a scheme.

Anonymous said...

President Bush's popularity would soar to 45% if he got rid of Cheney.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't there for access v. innovate, but I looked it up on the alligator. I found these articles. This seemed to be one interesting election (and there are a lot more interesting articles).

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/040121access.html

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/040126access.html

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/040217debate.html

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/040304election.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/
040121access.html

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/
040126access.html

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/
040217debate.html

http://www.alligator.org/edit/news/issues/stories/
040304election

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the Supreme Court decision?