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SG Election 2004 – 6 Tickets, 1 Choice

Brandon Faza

By Stefanie Green – Associate Editor

He began his disc jockey career at the age of 17. Since coming to USF three years ago he has been the DJ for Greek and Homecoming events. His Dodge Ram can also be seen on campus decorated in the new Bulls logo, a “DJ Faz” sticker on the back window and a “The Bull Dozer” sticker on the front. Approximately 300 copies of the song “What da Vote Gone Be,” a version of the famous rap singer Murphy Lee’s “What the Hook Gone Be,” have been downloaded off his campaign Web site.

Add all these things together and get what Brandon Faza and J.P. Murphy feel no other ticket running for SG student body president and vice president has. Their goal is to be creative and professional.

However, despite trying to produce a polished and unique campaign, the Faza-Murphy ticket has had some obstacles to overcome. Last month, a question of copyright infringement arose when the candidates’ campaign logo was found to be similar in design to the logo of a golf course in Kentucky, but because the logo was not federally trademark, the SG Elections Rule Commission did not penalize the ticket.

“We hope the students recognize that our campaign is more than a logo and about the things that need to get done for USF,” Faza said. “We want to make USF a better place and lay the groundwork to do so.”

And so the Faza-Murphy ticket moved on and continued to campaign on their five pillars: SG Outreach, Accountability and Communication, the USF Experience and Student Concerns, Academics and Bull Pride. Faza said those five pillars represent a theme he and Murphy found after compiling a long list of ideas that they thought needed attention at USF.

“Three years I have been at USF, and I’ve come to recognize some great things at USF that really haven’t been addressed,” Faza said.

Faza said he thinks the student body president is a person who is motivated by vision, and he says he is the one who has the most vision.

“First and foremost the student body president should give SG a vision on what students think should drive the campus,” he said. “The primary responsibility is to the students and everything is about how well it reflects the students.”

Murphy said he thinks that Faza is motivated enough and has the ability and experience to do well as the next student body president.

“Brandon will be on the Board of Trustees and will lead USF in a new direction and provide focus with a student voice,” Murphy said.

Fans of Betty Castor and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Faza and Murphy said they both believe academics is the most important issue that needs to be looked at by SG.

“The purpose of being a student is to graduate and be educated for the rest of your life, and when you are troubled academically, everything is affected,” Faza said.

Omar Khan

By Vanessa Garnica – News Editor

Student body president Omar Khan said that “being an activist isn’t a profession, it’s a lifestyle.” And with that in mind, he has served for the last year as the “voice” of the students in what he called an effort to make students more involved in the political process.

Khan talked about his efforts to represent all of the voting blocs regardless of their participation in the political process.

“We continued to support issues and concerns that might not be supported by votes, such as the arts,” Khan said. “We’ve been trying to pass an arts fee to get a music building in the new Marshall Center. Even though (art students) might not vote that much, we still want to represent them.”

Khan said one of the main reasons he decided to run again this year is his ticket’s wish to bring issues onto the debate floor other tickets might not. Khan is running with Chris Jackson, not current vice president Ryan Morris.

“When we brought issues like FCAT and NSEERS, no one knew what those issues were,” Khan said. “All of the sudden in the debate, everyone started talking about the issues and … brought them up because we brought them up.”

Another issue that the Khan-Jackson ticket wants to address is the SEVIS fee. The newly implemented fee charges international students $50 every semester and up to $150 a year.

“As of now, it’s something we feel incredible reservations about,” Khan said. “It’s an oppressive fee that … makes a division between international students and domestic students.”

While in office, Khan said he sees his biggest achievement as being able to motivate more students than any other student body president ever has in the history of USF.

Khan said the biggest issue affecting students at USF today is lack of concern from students “on many levels.”

“Apathy in Student Government and student involvement (is a big issue),” Khan said. “(Also there is) political apathy in our political process.”

And as far as a current political figure that Khan identifies with, it would have to be a certain rock star named Bono.

“(Bono) might not be a conventional choice when you think of a current political figure,” Khan said, “but he has taken political change to a different level.”

Jackson echoed the incumbent student body president’s vision and said he is most impressed by Omar’s integrity.

“The best thing about Omar is his open-door policy. You would be hard pressed to bring up any dirt on Omar,” Jackson said. “He’s probably one of the most honest guys I ever met in my life. He genuinely cares about USF, and he cares about the students as well.”

Although Khan is not sure what field he would pursue in graduate school, he did acknowledge his wishes to become an activist at one point of his life.

“Someway, somehow, I’ll be an activist,” Khan said. “Something in the political spectrum.”

Mike Mincberg

By Adam Becker – Asst. News Editor

Student Government runs in the Mincberg-family bloodlines.

Mike Mincberg, whose brother Dave served as vice president under Mike Griffin for two terms from 2001-03, thinks the advice he gains from his brother and former SG officers brings valuable experience to his campaign.

“I definitely think it has helped to have an association with a lot of former SG members,” Mincberg said. “I go to Dave and Mike Griffin and (former student body president) Tyvi Small for advice a lot of times. They all give me a lot of constructive criticism; they’re pretty hard on me most of the time actually, but it really helps me to decide what works and what doesn’t.”

Mincberg, who, at two debates, has described an administration that would be “highly inclusive,” said he sees the student body president’s primary responsibility to be representing all students at the university at state and national levels.

“The job description of the president is to be the student body’s outside liaison, and the role is definitely to represent the students as fairly and accurately as possible,” Mincberg said. “Something that has been done in the past is the cabinet hasn’t been run properly and hasn’t been held accountable, and so the president and VP end up doing the cabinet’s work, and the entire Student Government has suffered.

“One of the reasons I really chose to run with Christi Clements is that she really understands accountability. When we have our first meeting with our cabinet, we will explain to them that they have a job to do and they need to do it. At the end of the day, it would be Christi and I who have to answer to people. If they are not doing their job, they’re going to lose it, though everyone hopes it won’t come down to that.”

Clements said she was asked by several people to run for office, but, ultimately, it was Mincberg’s determination and commitment that impressed her enough to join his ticket.

“He has shown that he is very hard working, and he is also a self-starter who gets things done when he says he will,” she said. “Those are two of the hardest qualities to find in a person, and they are both very important for anyone in a leadership position. Also, another good thing about Mike is that when he doesn’t know about something, he’s not afraid to ask someone else who does.”

If Mincberg is elected, those qualities will come in handy as he tries to raise standards campus wide.

“The biggest issue on campus is obviously academics because that’s the reason we’re here in the first place,” he said. “We want to create a cabinet position representing academic concerns. Teacher evaluations are one example of something that should be made available to students. It is one of several ways to hold teachers accountable, and accountability is what it comes down to if someone wants to make anything better.”