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SG: The Great Divide

FGCU’s student leaders express a growing dissatisfaction with one another

Senate President Megan Turetsky has asked for Student Body President Juan Cubillo to turn in his resignation. Cubillo stated that he believes a third of senators are out to undermine him. Senators say that professionalism is lost.
On Monday, September 16, President Cubillo received an email from Turetsky. The letter was titled “Student Government Action,” and it was carbon-copied to the email accounts of the SG executive board, the SG advising team, the SG chief justice, the SG vice president, the SG treasurer, the coordinator of SG and the vice president of student affairs.
Turetsky accused Cubillo of being irresponsible, threatening the jobs of senators who are not under his direct leadership and threatening an elected public official with his vote in a Board of Trustees meeting. She stated that the amount of money that was spent on travel this past summer was “the most heinous act of irresponsibility that I have ever seen.” She also wrote that Cubillo had publicly humiliated and slandered an FGCU student at a senate meeting. In her last sentence, Turetsky made a request.
“I am perplexed by your actions and atrocious behavior,” Turetsky wrote. “As a student of this university and the leader of the Legislative Branch, I would like to express my disappointment with your behavior and in the interest of the student body request your resignation.”
Cubillo replied ten minutes later. His response was short.
“Megan, I will not get into childish discussions over email,” Cubillo wrote. “If you’d like to speak to me, approach me professionally.”
No mention of this email was made at the SG senate meeting on the following day. Cubillo told Eagle News on October 18 that he has spent more money on trips than any other student body president.
Last week, senate voted to change their agenda-posting policy. Upon hearing this decision, Cubillo’s frustration rose. He spoke to Eagle News about his reaction.
“I’m furious because everybody said ‘I want to connect more with students,” Cubillo said. “‘I want to get students more into student government, I want to bridge that gap,’ And now everybody’s the complete opposite.”
Cubillo thinks that senators chose to change the agenda policy to help themselves at the expense of the student body. He said that by making the agenda due a day later, senators are simply giving themselves more time to sit on the computer while they put everyone else in the background. He said that senators do not vote on bills that affect their own clubs, and the people in the clubs who really care about funding don’t get the chance to defend and promote themselves because they don’t get a copy of the agenda.
According to Cubillo, senate is currently divided into three parts.
“One third just show up on Tuesday nights not knowing what anything is,” Cubillo said. “They just vote yes or no based on what their friend said. The other third has a personal vendetta against me, so even if I have a good philosophy, they’re gonna say no because it’s Juan. And then the other third actually care about stuff and they review and maybe they think about what’s going on. But the people that have the vendetta against me are more aggressive, so they’re the ones that talk.”
Senator Andrew Grillo said that Cubillo is describing a typical government structure.
“That’s how every administration is every school year,” Grillo said. “There are always going to be people that don’t like the president. There probably is a large number of people that don’t like him, but when they go on the senate fl oor they focus on what’s best for the students.”
T. Elneus, one of SG’s newest senators, does not agree with Cubillo’s statement about senators being divided. “We all were put in our positions for a reason,” Elneus said.
“We all are here to vote based off of what we think the students that we are representing would want. There is nothing personal about anything, and if somebody makes things personal, well then, they’re just doing it for no reason.”
Jake Borstein recalls many instances in senate meetings where his fellow SG members fell short of professionalism, but like Elneus and Grillo, he agrees that they were all appointed as senators because they are capable of representing the student body fairly.
“I think we just get lost arguing over people instead of [representing] he students,” Bornstein said. “We’re [here to] make the student body and FGCU better, instead we’re constantly bickering with each other and sometimes egos get in the way of what’s right and that’s what this looks like.”
All senate meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held on Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m. in the Cohen Center room 247.
The email exchange is posted below as a screenshot and PDF.
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  • J

    Joey ContiOct 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I feel like the main source of disdain was found in this sentence paraphrased, “you took Sean Kempton on the trip instead of me.”

  • E

    Emily CatizoneOct 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    How do I vote in the poll proudly displayed on the right corner of this page? 28 votes is hardly indicative of a 13,000+ population and voting seems to be disabled.