Meyers to run for student body president


Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:47 p.m.

University of Florida Senate President Ben Meyers announced Tuesday that he is running for student body president.

The 20-year old junior is the first presidential candidate to enter the Feb. 22-23 election and has a long track record in student government. Meyers first developed his passion for leadership and service as the governor of the Florida American Legion Boys State at Atlantic High School in Boca Raton.

He became the sophomore class representative for the UF Student Senate in Spring 2009 and most recently served as chairman of the Allocations Committee. On Oct. 5, 2010, Meyers was elected as the Student Senate President under the Unite party.

After three years of representing the diverse interests of the student body, Meyers said he believes his experience and leadership roles have made him the perfect fit for student body president.

“I have a record of service to the University of Florida,” said Meyers, who studies Food and Resource Economics and Spanish. “Everything I've done on campus has been in the service of others. In Senate, I've been someone who brings people together to achieve ideas. Work that I've done on the allocations committee has really introduced me to so many people from the cross-section of campus. I feel like I know this campus better than most people because of how involved I've been. I look at the experiences and the ideas I have and it's a good mix. I wouldn't be running for this position if I didn't feel I was the best one for the job.”

Meyers said his most pressing concern is block tuition, which is a proposal by the UF administration to charge a standard amount for tuition regardless of whether you're taking 12 to 14 credit hours.

Implementation of block tuition was delayed last year by current student body president Ashton Charles and Meyers said his number one priority is getting it off the table for good.

“I feel like block tuition is a threat to every student's way of life and I feel like it will extremely damage the experience students are going to be able to have at UF,” Meyers said. “If you're like me and the majority of students who take under 15 credits, the average-credit level is about 14, then you will be charged for the class you don't take. You will be charged for a product you do not consume. Essentially, the goal is to increase graduation rates by forcing students to take more classes, but there are so many problems with it.”

Another issue Meyers wants to address is the economic conditions for students.

“Students are really hurting economically,” Meyers said, “and there's so many things I feel student government can do to help students in these tough times; Taking money off textbooks, analyzing fees and spending to make sure we're not charging students (too much) and looking at ways to assists students economically.”

One of those ways is providing free printing for students, which Meyers feels will benefit the student body a great deal.

“There have been strides towards it, but it has never gotten done,” he said. “So I'm going to be looking at what every college would need in terms of money, computers and printers.”

Barring any name changes or new parties, the Student Alliance party and the Progress party, which are expected to announce their candidates this week, will be the main competition for Meyers. His Unite party has had two student body presidents in Charles and Jordan Johnson since its founding in spring 2009.

Cecelia Hardwick, spokeswoman for the Unite party, said she is confident that Meyers' success in the Student Senate will serve the student body well.

“Plain and simply, he is just hands-down the most qualified candidate,” she said. “He has been involved in student government since he was a freshman. He's brought amazing, amazing leadership and change to Senate. We've gotten so many things done while he's been president and he's going to do amazing things as student body president too.”

Elections will be held Feb. 22-23 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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