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FSA elects new chair

The Florida Student Association held its monthly meeting at USF on Friday for the first time since 2003.

At the meeting, the FSA Board of Directors elected UF student body President Joe Goldberg as its new chairman. The FSA acts as a networking tool for student governments around the state and also acts as one voice representing the entire student body of Florida’s universities.

“It gives us an opportunity to really meet the leaders across the state doing the same things that we do on an everyday basis: share information (and) lobby together on important issues,” Goldberg said.

One of Goldberg’s main duties in his new position will be acting as the sole student voice sitting on the Board of Governors. This will give him a vote on most major issues affecting all of the universities across Florida.

“Every school is an equal priority as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I’m representing all the students in the state.”

He also said that he wants to improve communication lines in the FSA by encouraging student leaders from around the state to interact more outside of an FSA setting as well as better utilizing the internet to keep people updated. FSA deals with a wide variety of issues affecting students.

“Checking tuition and fee increases, lobbying for the Bright Futures Scholarship and working in the interest of students at the state level are among the organization’s chief responsibilities,” USF Student Goverment senate President Frank Harrison said.

In the past, FSA has been accused of playing favorites. Last year’s SG senate President Stavros Papandreou called for USF to leave the organization on more than one occasion. SG allotted $34,747 this year for costs associated with membership in FSA, which includes things such as dues and travel costs. That money comes entirely from the Activity and Services fees paid by students as part of their tuition.

Papandreou claimed last November that FSA, based in Tallahassee, was “a tool of FSU.”

Harrison has a different take on FSA than his predecessor Papandreou.

“FSA represents the consolidated voice of nearly all students in the State University System,” Harrison said. “And it is a voice respected by the Florida Legislature.”

Goldberg replaces FSU student body President Chris Schoonover as the chairman of the Board of Directors and says he plans to treat each school equally.

“I think that it’s important to make sure that there is no favoritism from one school over the other,” Goldberg said.

USF had two of its representatives elected to smaller positions. Harrison was voted chairman of the Senate Leadership Council, which is made up of senate presidents from across the state.

Also, student body Vice President Sameer Ahmed was chosen to be the vice chair of the Vice Presidents Council, made up of student body vice presidents from across the state. The FSA is made up of student government leadership from 10 of the 11 state universities in Florida. FAU has allowed their membership to lapse and is unclear when and if they will rejoin. Representatives from UNF, FGCU, UWF, UF, FSU, FIU and USF were in attendance at the meeting.