Candidates discuss Greek life

SGA hopefuls debate issues, accountability

By Alexandra Pittman

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012

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Katie Kustura/Central Florida Future

SGA presidential and vice presidential candidates discuss issues that affect the UCF Greek community at the Greek Life Forum on Monday.

SGA presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls talked about several of the prominent issues within Greek life Monday night at the Greek Life Forum.

The forum, the second scheduled debate for the candidates, focused on several controversial topics such as hazing and the prior moratorium for the Delta Delta Delta sorority and Sigma Chi fraternity.

Anthony King and Eric Katz, presidential hopeful and vice-presidential hopeful, respectively, and Cortez Whatley and Rachel Brill, presidential hopeful and vice-presidential hopeful, respectively, discussed their continued involvement within Greek life and their stances on prominent issues.

The debate opened with the image Greek organizations represent and their role within the UCF community, where both candidates agreed that these organizations offered a lot to UCF students, emphasizing a need to break from typical stereotypes.

Katz referred to the quote, “fall down seven times, get up eight,” while touching on the difficult times within Greek life and the need to show “how much greatness [Greek life] brings to this school and Orlando.”

Whatley, a member of Beta Theta Pi, also stressed the influence his fraternity had upon his UCF experience.

“My organization has really taught me what it is to become a man of principle and what it means to become a man in general,” Whatley said. “Coming to this university as a wide-eyed freshman who didn’t really understand my direction or my focus, my fraternity was able to instill in me the values I already had and show me that I didn’t necessarily need letters to become who I was. I was a Beta before I was a Beta.”

Freshman Weston Bayes, a political science major and Beta Theta Pi pledge, looks up to Whatley.

“I personally like Cortez as a mentor, and I just liked what he stood for and the kind of person he is,” Bayes said. “Everything that has come out through their platform plan. … I completely agree with it all, and I think they’re the best people to represent UCF as a community.”

The forum also discussed the definition of hazing, and while King and Katz felt that hazing should be strictly defined, Whatley felt that hazing should be kept broad and “cover everything so that you don’t do it … [and] make sure your organization is running correctly.”

Candidates also touched upon their views in regards to Greek expansion and the stereotypes associated with Greek life.

Brill commented that an influence should be made on “quality over quantity … looking at Greeks for our leaders on campus,” even though the Greek community only represents less than 10 percent of UCF’s population.

King, however, felt that a move toward expansion was not a move away from quality, saying that “every single student here can be in Greek life because every single UCF student here is a quality student … [where] all 58,000 students are quality.”

Brill also called attention to the shadier side of campaigning, making note of her platform’s stolen banners from the Pi Beta Phi sorority house.

“Honestly, it’s one of those things where I think respect is essential in a campaign, and [this is] only the tip of the iceberg in the disrespect that we’ve received,” Brill said. “It’s something that I needed to make sure that they knew we know, and their responses were very disappointing because they’re definitely aware of what’s been happening.”

King, however, took Brill’s comments to heart.

“When they pointed the finger towards us, like you did this, you did this, that’s when you probably saw me get really flustered and … really upset, because I took it personally,” King said. “If anyone knows who I am and what I preach to my supporters, I’m completely against … doing anything negative. Being called out right in front kind of hit me off my shoe a bit.”

The forum also discussed the candidates’ views on the moratorium established after the death of UCF student Ann Hefferin — a move both parties agreed wholeheartedly with.

Whatley spoke about his support of the decision [as] “it comes down to saving or preventing the death or injury of any UCF student.”

Katz agreed, commenting that “a student’s life is always worth more than any fun time.”

Freshman Sydney Altfield, an undeclared major and a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, agreed with the need for the moratorium.

“That’s one of the biggest things that’s going on right now: what’s going to happen, is this ever going to happen again, what are we going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Altfield said. “I think both candidates did talk very well about it.”

Voting will begin on Monday, March 26.

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