Why Eagle News opposes re-election of Juan Cubillo
When we published the “Welcome Back” issue of Eagle News in August, we promised that we would do our best to provide you with the facts. We made it our duty to make sure you are informed when those in power step out of line.
We wish this was an editorial we didn’t have to write, but we can no longer continue to watch the student body be taken advantage of. That is why we implore you, the students, to not re-elect Juan Cubillo as student body president on Feb. 25 – 27.
We believe time has proven that Cubillo’s actions have not always been in the best interest of the student body, and he is too sensitive to criticism to be president. By our count, no more than two of his 14 promised initiatives were successfully completed in a year’s time.
Cubillo provided the promised Scantron machines, which, when originally announced, were to be offered as a free service. However, now students must pay when the “free trial” is up, just like they would at the bookstore. He also completed one-third of his first initiative, which reads, “Implement Rentals of iPads, Laptops and Course Required Calculators.” The calculators are available for rent, but the laptops and iPads are not. The remaining 12 items on Cubillo’s list of initiatives were not successfully completed. While it can be argued he has tried to, as promised, fight for cheaper textbooks and develop a plan for Greek housing, he has not achieved tangible results. These initiatives are worded to entice students to vote but offer no concrete betterment for the University.
Other initiatives are too massive an undertaking for an SG president to accomplish, such as facilitate parking on campus or create more on-campus housing. These well-worded pledges help a student leader seem active without having to do anything in office. Another initiative he led was the mobile barbershop; however, due to controversy, that is now gone as well. Cubillo has accomplished less than 15 percent of his initiatives, if you include the barbershop. We believe this isn’t a passing grade for a student body president.
Cubillo’s management of money is also questionable. He has spent large amounts of money on travel with his SG peers.
Cubillo said he spent the money — more for travel expenses than any other student body president in FGCU’s history, according to Cubillo himself — to educate members of his staff. According to the SG travel expenditures, Cubillo spent more than each of the past two presidents on travel — more than $22,000 — in six months. While all registered student organizations are limited to a $7,500 travel budget, Cubillo has spent more than three times that amount. He is within his right to spend this money, but since he has been openly critical of the 2014-15 budget, he should be equally critical of his own spending.
For example, when Cubillo brought the mobile barbershop to campus, he assured students it would be at no cost to them. Once it arrived, the price of the barbershop was not disclosed to students.
Prior to the arrival of the barbershop, Cubillo used his personal Facebook account to inform students on official letterhead that the barbershop would be a service provided at no cost to the student body. His then-communications director, Jenny Rodgers, who is also a writer for Eagle News, confirmed his post using her Facebook page, reassuring skeptical students they wouldn’t pay a penny from their student activity fees to bring the service to campus.
According to a purchase requisition obtained by Eagle News, Cubillo paid Campus Reservations $1,100 from the SG Activities & Services account, which is funded by the fees that you, the students, pay from your tuition. Cubillo also used $500 from the same account to subsidize haircuts during the barbershop’s first week on campus, according to records presented by senators Michael Danis and Tyler Brown during a Senate Executive meeting last semester.
When asked by Eagle News if he would make his purchase requisitions public, Cubillo said the information is out there, and if anyone wants it they can request the public records.
After the barbershop stopped coming to campus, Cubillo used Facebook to compare his presidency to that of President Barack Obama, writing, “President Obama should take a page out of my book. He should reconsider Obamacare just like I reconsidered the barbershop. If people don’t welcome an idea, then we have to listen to them.” This was bizarre and unwarranted considering the leagues of difference between a college barbershop and a bill designed to change the health care of an entire nation.
Liberties with Facebook
Cubillo uses Facebook for both professional and personal statements, however, his posts are often unprofessional and inappropriate, as many of them are written on SG and FGCU letterhead.
When Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott’s criticism of Eaglepalooza entertainment hit full force, Cubillo posted the following Facebook status: “How about we all film Ludacris performing ‘Move ****’ at EaglePalooza and send the video to Sheriff Mike Scott…” As a representative of the University, Cubillo’s statement was unprofessional. It is another example of Cubillo’s impulsive nature, inappropriate for a representative of our university. Cubillo has also reacted poorly to criticisms students have posted on social media. Public figures and leaders often receive criticism and must handle it with poise. Cubillo often reacts defensively and lashes out at students rather than listening to their complaints or taking the high road.
When Julian Montalvo, an active member of multiple RSOs on campus, decided to look into Cubillo’s stipend, he was met with snide remarks from the president.
“Making a records request for a break down of the SG salary for our student President Juan Cubillo — it’s time to break open the rumors and expose the truth,” Montalvo wrote. Cubillo sent Montalvo a message, which Montalvo made public, in which Cubillo wrote:
“Why don’t you just ask me about my salary instead of making a Facebook movie about it? I make $14,000 for one year. It’s been the same for over five years … It’s surprising to see you being so outspoken and aggressive towards me. I have given a lot of my time and effort to help two of the groups you’re a part of even before I was in SG. Good luck, Mr. Montalvo.”
Not only did Cubillo handle this situation poorly, the way he handled the 2014-15 budget was also flawed.
Last week, Cubillo posted a letter to his personal Facebook account on FGCU letterhead publicly accusing former appropriations chair Danis of not doing an adequate job on the 2014-15 budget.
Despite criticizing the budget and vetoing its first draft, Cubillo did not attend a single budget meeting to give his input on the proposed budget, according to the appropriations committee. He never pulled any records or listened to the audio recordings of the meetings. He never gave any input regarding how to make the budget better for the students, yet he had no problem putting down the students who did put in the work to create and improve the budget.
Instead, Cubillo let the appropriations committee do all the work and then swooped in to play the role of the good guy when some students were dissatisfied.
Cubillo has also allegedly mistreated his peers behind closed doors.
Rodgers, former director of communications for SG, resigned after getting fed up with working for Cubillo.
“When I started working for Student Government, I thought I would be working for SG as a whole,” Rodgers said. “ I felt like I was working for a single person and his agenda. I joined to be communications director for SG, not Juan Cubillo.” Eagle News has received several other complaints regarding Cubillo’s conduct as president from members of SG, but since these sources are unwilling to go on the record for fear of reprisal, Eagle News will not delve into their specific complaints.
Eagles, you deserve better. You deserve a president who will advocate for you and fight for the good of all Eagles, not just his or her self-interests. You deserve a president who can admit when he or she makes a mistake and learns from it. After all, we’re all students, and we’re all here to learn. You deserve a president who can take criticism with poise and grace, and one who won’t lash out with venom when students oppose his ideas. So this year, when it’s time to vote, don’t re-elect Juan Cubillo’s party of one.