Student representatives Mike Griffin and Dave Mincberg passed their reigns to Omar Khan and Ryan Morris on May 1. Members of the Board of Trustees, USF President Judy Genshaft and students gathered in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom to welcome the new Student Government student body president and vice president.
After a runoff, a court hearing and a mistrial, the Khan/Morris ticket was elected with 1,261 of the 2,539 votes cast, beating challengers Mike Berman and Ronda Bostick by only two votes.
Khan said during his inauguration address that he was disappointed to see Griffin and Mincberg leave after two terms.
“You have set big shoes to fill and I look forward to continuing the tradition (of SG),” Khan said.
Reflecting on the long campaign, Khan said as the underdogs, he and Morris raised awareness about concerns they had for the university.
“When we run, we run with our hearts,” Khan said. “We want more people to be involved and to make SG contagious.”
However, Khan added that the first step was getting elected.
“We made the promise and now we must distribute that promise,” he said.
Khan’s vision is to foster unity, cultural awareness and student involvement within the USF community. In addition, he said as a leader, he wants to motivate people and uphold the highest ethical academic standards.
“(Ryan and I) want to lead by example,” he said. “We want to build unity and work as one.”
Khan said USF can count on having dedicated leaders who will serve the student body to their fullest.
“My No. 1 commitment is that I will follow what is in my heart,” he said.
Before Khan/Morris were officially declared as the student body president and vice president, they participated in the SG symbolic flag ceremony. The flag ceremony included a student representative from student activities, Mincberg, Griffin, Genshaft, Khan and Morris. The flag was passed around from the student representative to officially end the tenure of Griffin and Mincberg and transfer leadership to Khan and Morris.
Griffin said during his campaign two years ago, he ran on two principles: accountability and communication. But during his and Mincberg’s stay in office, they have taken it much farther than that.
“Two years ago, we didn’t have the Board of Regents, Sept. 11, and budget cuts. And since then, Dave and I had to go back to those principles,” Griffin said. “It is about leaving USF better than we found it.”
Bringing students together, Griffin added, was one of the things that his administration aimed for, by introducing events such as Midnight Mania and more diversity on campus after Sept. 11, 2001.
“We’re not perfect, but nothing is perfect,” he said. “We are two people with two different views, and we have gotten a lot done by working together.”
Mincberg echoed Griffin’s farewell remarks.
“I look at all these years that were filled with cuts and controversy, and there are truly people that cared and have bled green and gold,” Mincberg said. “We have had the opportunity to make a difference to USF.”
Griffin and Mincberg both added their congratulations to Khan and Morris and said they were impressed with their work ethic so far. Griffin said if they needed anything to feel free to call upon them for help.
Griffin also gave Khan some insight on how to go about his reign as student body president.
“Be the best SG president you can be, because the students deserve no less,” Griffin said.