Last Thursday, USF Student Government (SG) announced it will host a U.S. Senate debate in late October, only a week before the general election. The nationally televised, on-campus debate will be held in partnership with CNN and the St. Petersburg Times.
This honor was granted to the University through the assistance of the SG executive branch. By accomplishing the feat, student body President Cesar Hernandez’s administration has begun to honor his campaign pledge to promote a more politically active campus and attract political attention to USF.
Unfortunately, however, Hernandez’s term has been marred by petty SG politics even though it has already produced excellent results. During the summer, there was a flare up between the Senate and the executive branch over the confirmation of Nicole Kummer for an administration job.
Kummer initially sought the associate director for state affairs position, but her application was passed on, and she was instead considered for coordinator for resident life, a job for which she was more qualified. That, though, is a violation of policy.
Khalid Hassouneh, chair of the committee on rules who voted against Kummer, said to The Oracle that the application process “is there for a reason.”
She was eventually denied the job.
Other SG candidates, however, were confirmed by the Senate under similar circumstances. Why was Kummer held back while others were not? The inconsistency doesn’t reflect well on the Senate.
Her situation was not the only chapter of this saga. An anonymous grievance was filed recently against Hernandez and Vice President Spencer Montgomery over the hiring of Brett Farrar as Bulls Radio director.
The grievance contends, among other things, that Farrar is “not qualified” for the position. Although the Senate previously confirmed him for the job, it’s now investigating the grievance.
USF students shouldn’t be shocked. It seems like this kind of petty bickering happens in SG every year. Even so, it is unfortunate that the Senate is selectively preventing Hernandez from assembling the best possible team for his administration.
Consider the extraordinary work the executive branch has done even before the start of classes: they reached out to U.S. Senate candidates who are significant on a national level and convinced them to come to USF – bringing Washington politics right to Tampa for the benefit of the student body. Beyond that, they managed to get the entire spectacle broadcast across America.
The student body should appreciate and cooperate with Hernandez’s administration, and the Senate should not stymie him over petty issues. He has already done incredible work for USF, and there is every reason to believe he will continue to do so.
Vincent DeFrancesco is a junior majoring in mass communications.