Meet the candidates
Three students run in this year’s student body elections
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 02:02
“You have to work with so many different entities, from sheriffs to campus PD to the Tampa Police Department,” Nouri said. “You have to come full circle and look at student organizations and the base level, all the way up to law enforcement. You have to have everyone involved for a good task force.”
Arnold said she also plans on improving safety by utilizing the university’s recent Medical Amnesty policy and integrating it as part of USF’s freshman orientation sessions.
Nouri said the concept of “Bulls Country” in the Bay area was a big issue at Monday night’s debate among the presidential candidates, an issue he hopes to build upon from previous student body presidents.
“I think it’s definitely dwindled,” Nouri said. “I think it’s important that we not only bring that back, but we focus it and specialize it so students know exactly what they have at their disposal.”
Arnold and Nouri said they plan on making students aware of the specific services and discounts students have in the area, and working with local businesses to make sure every shop in the community has a “USF flag or has as a USF banner.”
Another aspect of the advocacy Arnold and Nouri are running on is transparency in university funding, especially tuition and student fees.
“We need to spend some good time organizing and allocating and figuring out what we got right now before adding on new fees,” Nouri said. “… The students should not have to pay for anything that is an inherent academic responsibility of the institution.”
Jean Cocco, a senior majoring in international studies and political science with a minor in French, said he hopes to focus on what students need.
Cocco, currently serving as the University, Community and Government Affairs committee chair in the Student Government (SG) Senate, co-chair of the USF Ethics and Integrity Council, a member of the Latin American Student Association, a member of College Democrats and the USF Athletics Council, is campaigning with vice-presidential candidate Rhondel Whyte, a senior majoring in electrical engineering and Chinese.
Coccco and Whyte said their campaign, “We The Students,” focuses on student needs and the USF community.
“Being involved on campus and talking to students, and seeing what works and doesn’t work, and having the strong passion to serve that we both have to give back like people have given to us, we got together and decided that we can really do something to make a difference for Student Government and for the university,” Cocco said.
Whyte is president of the Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, a multicultural Greek organization at USF. He is also vice president of operations for USF Ambassadors, a resident assistant in USF Housing and voted this year’s Homecoming King.
Cocco said he decided to get involved in Student Government because a long time ago, a politician in the Dominican Republic told his father that, in order to succeed, he needed to go to school, get an education and make something of himself.
“Everyone has a story and a story to leave behind in USF Bulls Country,” Cocco said. “We want to give people the opportunity to share their stories and the opportunity to improve their stories.”
One of the main issues Cocco and Whyte said they wish to accomplish is create more transparency at the university.
“Students I talk to don’t understand what they’re paying for on Oasis,” Cocco said. “We’d like to create a tuition awareness campaign… to come up with a transparent method of seeing where our money goes… A lot of students don’t know what (the tution differential) is. SG needs to do a better job of explaining those fees.”
Whyte said there are many issues around campus that can also be changed, issues he noticed while working in the residence halls.
“The dining hall kind of sucks, and everybody knows this,” he said. “This is the standard and its mediocre but we’re going to go with it because that’s the way it is. That’s kind of terrible.”
Whyte said he found it odd when he spoke with a student he met through the Ambassadors program at another university tell him that the food at another university was great.
“That’s such a weird thing to hear because I thought everyone’s dining hall food sucks, but it doesn’t have to,” he said. “It takes a bloody chicken and the media to get involved for some change to take place. Why can’t we be a proactive university instead of a reactive university? There’s so many things we can change at USF that we know are wrong but we wait until something goes wrong for us to react.”