Schneider joins race for student body president
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 11:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 11:34 p.m.
The Progress Party nominated President Dave Schneider to run for University of Florida student body president late Tuesday.
Schneider, 20, is an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society and served as student senator for Rawlings Hall in his freshman year.
During his three years at UF, the Orlando native has organized countless campus rallies and says he has gained plenty of experience along the way.
“I’ve been involved in student government since practically the day I got here at the University of Florida,” Schneider said Wednesday. “I’ve learned a lot in terms of working on this campus, building bridges with other parties to get things done and obviously taking up advocacy around the most important issues.”
The announcement of Schneider’s candidacy came on the heels of the merger of the Student Alliance Party and the Independent Coalition to create a unified Progress Party for the spring 2011 elections.
In a news release, the two parties said they came together after the low student turnout in the fall 2010 election, which drew about 8,500 voters.
Schneider said the work ethic of the Student Alliance Party will translate well in his mission to improve participation in student government.
“Students are denied, in a lot of ways, participation in the governing of their own affairs,” said Schneider, who said he wants to create an online voting elections system as student body president. “I think it’s because people don’t really feel like they have a lot of say in the system, they don’t feel like the system’s important, they don’t feel like they’re listened to and, unfortunately, I think they’re right.”
The parties also merged due to dissatisfaction with student government’s responses to block tuition and the shooting of UF student Kofi Adu-Brempong by the University Police Department in March 2010, Schneider said.
“Student government barely spoke out against it,” Schneider said of the shooting. “And when they did, they passed a meager resolution that we had to fight tooth and nail to even get through. Then you have this issue with block tuition, where two months after the administration announces this plan that’s gonna hurt working students, finally student government passes another fairly timid resolution. I look at that and I don’t think that’s leadership at all.
“Students want a government that’s gonna advocate on their behalf when the police overstep their bounds and commit a pretty heinous crime,” Schneider continued. “Students want a government that’s gonna advocate on their behalf when administration wants to charge them more for taking classes here. And they don’t get that.”
According to Schneider, student government has failed to involve more students in the system.
“When student government decided to put GPS systems into the RTS buses, they went to an outside company to design the technology, even though there were engineering students who offered to do the same thing at a lesser cost,” Schneider explained. “Part of term participation in student government is involving students in all of these projects that it undertakes and looking to the university first for solutions as opposed to going outside and hiring the nearest firm that someone has a connection to.”
Jose Soto, the chief negotiator for the Graduate Assistants United, said Schneider has something the UF student body has been missing.
“What UF needs right now is not just a student body president, but they need an activist student body president,” Soto said. “There’s a difference in being somebody that is just there for a photo op and somebody who is going to be there picketing for the students. He’s been fighting for student rights for as long I can remember and he would be that. Dave is an activist at heart.”
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