Bulls rush the Capitol

Nearly 75 USF students converged in Tallahassee on Tuesday afternoon for the two-day Bulls Day at the Capitol, an event where students get a chance to meet and greet various state politicians and promote the University.

While most are members of Student Government, the marching band or are cheerleaders, USF President Judy Genshaft was also in Tallahassee for the event.

“We are working to build awareness of USF and to build lines of communication,” student body Vice President elect Sameer Ahmed said.

Students handed out bags to state representatives and senators containing various items with USF logos, such as coffee mugs, pens, paper and note pads.

“On the second floor of the rotunda in the Capitol building we have tables showcasing USF,” student body President Bijal Chhadva said. “We are giving away promotional items to legislators, letting them know about the great service our University does for the state.”

According to Chhadva, a four-pronged legislative agenda was being pushed, though not necessarily by all students at the event.

He said the main points of that agenda were funding for a new Visual and Performing Arts teaching center, a better facility for the architecture program, fighting against tuition proposals made by the Board of Governors and also getting universities fully funded overall.

Chhadva and Vice President Andrew Aubery have held meetings with several legislators. They, along with Ahmed and student body President elect Maxon Victor, stayed in Tallahassee today to meet with more legislators.

Chhadva and Aubery met with Rep. Anitere Flores (R–Miami) who sponsored House Bill 891. If passed, the bill would eliminate the sales tax on textbooks for college students. Flores is optimistic about the bill’s chances of passing. It has passed through the appropriate committees and should be heard on the House floor soon.

Due to scheduling conflicts, a meeting with Rep. Dennis Baxley (R–Ocala) was not set up. He sponsored House Bill 837, which has been dubbed by supporters as the “Academic Bill of Rights.” Opponents of the bill say it would hinder free speech in the classrooms on campuses. It would also provide outlines for filing grievances against professors for being biased against students for political or religious beliefs. The bill was passed out of the Education Council favorably on Tuesday and is currently on the House calendar.