Polytechnic student faces conduct violations

By Divya Kumar, ASST. NEWS EDITOR
On November 27, 2011

The possible USF Polytechnic split and the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) decision to set criteria for its independence has resulted in numerous emails, letters and calls for investigation.

Now, one USF Polytechnic student may face code of conduct violations for how he discussed the matter.

Michael Nacrelli, a senior majoring in psychology and a member of Student Government (SG) group Poly 5, received a letter last week from Dean of Students Jan Lloyd asking to set up a meeting by Thursday about emails he sent to other SG members criticizing the decisions of SG and USF leaders.

Nacrelli faces "failure to follow instructions" and "disruptive conduct" violations, and Lloyd said in the letter if he does not meet with her by this week, "a decision, which may affect (Nacrelli's) student status, will be made without the benefit of input from (Nacrelli)."

The letter claimed emails sent to SG members were "accusing them of breaking laws, holding back information and personally attacking those individuals" and "made them very uncomfortable."

Nacrelli said the allegations being brought upon him are unfair.

"The student voices have been intimidated into near extinction on the USF Polytechnic campus," he said. "Most Poly students prefer apathy to possible subtle but punitive measures the current administration implores to encourage silence. As far as the BOG? They are not really concerned, as evidenced by the vote Nov. 9 as to what former, current and future USF students believe regarding SUS (State University System) separation of USF and the yet-to-be-named Polytechnic."

In a Nov. 5 email sent to USF Polytechnic SG senators, directed to Senator Joshua Ely, Nacrelli said Ely acted impartially, coming to the defense of SG President Kathryn Bevilacqua, Ely's fianc and "lover."

"You were totally out of line and I feel it's time you made a serious decision as to whether or not you can work side-by-side with your girlfriend without allowing your love for her cloud your professional judgment," he wrote.

On Nov. 8, SG senator Ryan Scuderi wrote to other senators saying he was disappointed in some senators "taking the position as senator more seriously" than they should, resulting in negative media coverage.

"Take, for example, the buses to the Board of Governors meeting," he wrote. "The issue (of withdrawing an offer for students to travel to Boca Raton) was resolved AFTER the news media had published it and our organization needed to catch up on the matter, it made us all look foolish."

The Lakeland Ledger published an article early this month, stating Bevilacqua sent out an offer to Poly students to ride SG sponsored buses to Boca Raton. The offer was withdrawn a day later, due to a possible change in date.

Nacrelli responded, copying SG senators.

"Wow!" he wrote. "You claim representing a university student body may be taken too seriously? Should we care a bit less? You also claim the media, known for yellow journalism, published a story about buses and we looked foolish? We were in good light just prior? Really! Our campus action figures and inability to adequately explain to elected Florida legislators our financial progress is honorable? The constant misinformation fed to students is acceptable and not embarrassing to you?"

After that email, Coordinator for Campus Life Mark Flynn warned Nacrelli not to copy other senators on "personal communication," according to the letter Lloyd sent.

Lloyd declined to immediately comment due to student privacy laws.

"The allegations are not only unfair, but they appear as an attempt to infringe on my First Amendment rights," Nacrelli said to The Oracle. "My first thought was this is a witch hunt. Retaliation can be (the) only motive for this action, since I've spent much time and effort working to best represent those students entrusted to my leadership. My claims in emails were valid and my questions were genuine and worthy of response by recipient."

Holds are currently placed on Nacrelli's student records.

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