Monday, March 19, 2007
Q&A w/ Senator-Elect Alan Passman
Special Q&A w/lone PANTS Party Senator-Elect Alan Passman. Senator-Elect Passman, a winner at the polls, may not be sworn in due to an elections complaint filed by Gator Party leader J. Clayton Brett. The Election Commission has ruled in Brett's favor and disqualification has been recommended to the Supreme Court.
This interview comes on the Eve of the decision. Students elected Passman, but if the Courts uphold the Election Commission's recommendation, then the Senate's R&A Committee will elect a senator over the people's wishes. Here's to Democracy and Single-Party Corruption.
TR: When did you arrive at UF? Tell us about your perception(s) of the Graduate Experience at UF?
Senator-Elect Passman: arrived at UF in August 2003 as a transfer student in Engineering. I completed my B.S. in Electrical Engineering in May 2006 and I'm finishing up my M.S. in Electrical Engineering. I enjoyed my time here as an undergraduate and wanted to continue on as a graduate student. The main difference between undergrad and grad school for me is that I'm now working with more international students from around the world, and it's a rewarding experience. Other than that, it’s mainly been an extension of my undergraduate work at UF. The easiest way for me to sum it up is: it's great to be a Florida Gator!
TR: Why did you interview with the Pants Party?
Senator-Elect Passman: I interviewed with the Pants Party because I believe(d) in Bruce and wanted to support him and what he was trying to do. Initially I had no intention of running as I'm already very active and have many responsibilities within the College of Engineering and graduate school is pretty demanding. However, after further discussing things with Bruce and then taking time to think it over, I decided to throw my name into the race.
TR: How active were you during the elections? What if any lessons or insightful observations did you acquire as a result of your work in the campaign?
Senator-Elect Passman: The two weeks prior to election I was out in Turlington doing general campaigning for the party. The days during the election I was out in front of Weil Hall and, mainly, NEB trying to help the party and the Engineering candidates. I chose not to do a lot of the typical things such as creating facebook flyers, a facebook group or speaking at student organizations. Instead, I focused on promoting the party in general and speaking with and listening to students on an individual basis.
This was my first real encounter with UF SG, other than being a voter, so it was neat to get a closer look at how both campaigns were run and to get out and speak to many UF students. It’s fairly well known that students are apathetic towards SG elections, and it’s really unfortunate. I was happy to speak to some students who haven’t voted before and to be able to get them interested in the elections and the issues and, ultimately, to the polls.
TR: In your opinion did Pants run a clean campaign? Did Gator?
Senator-Elect Passman: In my opinion, and from what I know, yes for both. I don't have much knowledge on what happened behind-the-scenes on either side.
TR: After winning your senate seat, do you think it's ethical of the Elections Committee/Supreme Court to strip you of your office-elect and to defy the wishes of the student body? What are your thoughts on the present situation?
Senator-Elect Passman: Whether it's ethical or not of the EC/SC - I don't know. I don’t think the punishment fits the crime – and that’s assuming you are in the opinion that there was misconduct. Taking away my senate seat is not so much a mark against me or the Pants Party, but a disservice to the graduate students, denying them of their elected representation. If removed, I'd be disappointed for them, not myself.
TR: Some members of Gator claim you are angry with Bruce and/or Pants over your possible dq. I don't believe this to be the case, however, the ball is in your court. Could you give us your take?
Senator-Elect Passman: Anyone claiming that I am angry with Bruce and/or the Pants Party does not know me and is completely wrong. Bruce and I are, have been, and will continue to be great friends. I'm proud of him and the campaign he ran and of the Pants Party as a whole. Anyone claiming otherwise doesn’t have a clue.
TR: Should you be disqualified will you continue to be involved in the Independent community & SG? Or will this injustice remove you from the campus political scene?
Senator-Elect Passman: If removed I will continue to be active and involved within my college and representing all engineering students (grad and undergraduate), just not through SG. However, my impending graduation will make this experience both my first and last in SG politics.
TR: Should the voice of the students not be silenced, meaning should you retain your elected office, should we expect the lone Pants' senator to be another face in the crowd - or- will you work with others but speak out for Grads & Indies along the way?
Senator-Elect Passman: If I keep my position I have no objections on working with others. However, I will work for and speak towards whatever I feel is in the best interests of my constituents and the student body as a whole.
TR: Any parting words?
Senator-Elect Passman: Thanks for your interest!