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In these tough economic times when programs are being cut, tuition is on the rise and students are struggling to pay their bills, KnightNews.com has discovered UCF SGA president Mike Kilbride has spent nearly $8,000 of students’ money on a desk for the SGA office, which came to a total of $7,800. (See the purchase order here.)

Compare the old desk with the new one for yourself below:

The old desk
The new $7,800 desk

After Mr. Kilbride ignored our e-mailed request for an on camera interview about the new desk, we stopped by Mr. Kilbride’s office to try and ask him some questions. Although Mr. Kilbride has publicly stated that his administration is one of transparency and that he has an open door policy, he refused to talk to us on camera when we stopped by and even threw KnightNews.com crews out of the office while in the process of gathering video about the poorly advertised SGA election.

Kilbride has recently been under public scrutiny from students, Orange County commissioners, and local TV and campus media outlets for his spending habits following his controversial $8,000 cabinet retreat, where he took his administration to a sprawling, five-star resort outside of Disney and stayed in luxury villas overnight. UCF announced it was reviewing how Kilbride, a UCF Board of Trustee and public official, accepted free Disney tickets from a company lobbyist. The outcome of that review has not been announced. Once KnightNews.com made the public aware of this retreat, WFTV Channel 9 questioned Kilbride about it, and you can see what he had to say here.

Kilbride’s decision to throw KnightNews.com out of the SGA office came at a time when the SGA Senate election had the lowest amount of participation we’ve seen during our time at UCF, and the Kilbride-appointed Chief Elections Commissioner, Shane Meckler, was under scrutiny for breaking election statutes, according to lawyers, by not advertising the election with enough time for students to get involved. Read the story about Drew Pope, Speaker of the Senate, and his secret meeting held on campus before active campaigning was allowed.

In addition to visiting Kilbride directly, we have also sent him e-mails and tried reaching out to other members of his administration, but he has so far ignored our requests to be interviewed in person and answer our questions regarding his desk.


See CFO & Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink Speak Out on SGA Desk:


When KnightNews.com sent a reporter, Alyssa Metsky, to ask President Hitt for his thoughts about Kilbride’s desk when he held his open forum on Thursday, he had no problems taking our questions. Metsky asked whether Hitt would buy an $8,000 piece of furniture in these tough economic times if the old furniture was perfectly fine. Hitt responded, “probably not.”

It’s not clear why Kilbride is refusing to be interviewed and answer direct questions about his spending choices. He briefly talked to our reporter off camera, but refused to speak on the record, so we cannot share his thoughts with you. We spoke with other SGA officials, however, including Chief Information Officer Shane Chism, who verified that if Kilbride had wanted to, he could have used the nearly $8,000 spent on the new desk for something else.

We found out the cost of scantrons, and concluded that instead of this desk, Kilbride could have purchased around 90,000 scantrons to give to students, which is the real reason most students seem to visit the office in the first place. According to Chism’s approximations of the number of pink scantrons SGA buys each year, this could have effectively given students twice as many this year.

If Mike Kilbride should agree to speak on camera with KnightNews.com about the $7,800 desk, we will update our readers with his side of the story. Until then, we will continue to ask tough questions and hold Mike Kilbride and his administration accountable for spending student money — because after all, it’s student money that pays Kilbride about $20,000 a year to hold the prestigious office.


Update: Logan Herlihy Discusses SGA Desk, Retreat Live on Fox 35:



25 COMMENTS

  1. This is ridiculous. Knight News has nothing better to do than bash SGA. Nobody is perfect. Do I personally justify someone spending that much on a desk..? Not at all. But maybe you guys could highlight some of the AMAZING things that SGA does for students…? Like sending them to conferences they would never be able to afford to make it to on their own… helping put on events organizations would have to spend years saving for..? Or all of the new features and services on campus that wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of SO MANY PEOPLE in SGA? Stop generalizing everyone and making it seem like they don’t give up incredible amounts of time to do things for our students. You guys spend all of your time making students hate the people that have stepped up to take on these responsibilities and try to HELP them. You think you guys are heroes making SGA look like assholes? Think again. YOU are part of the problem whether you want to admit it or not.

    The fact that people read this and are convinced by your “news” (gossip)is what makes me a CONCERNED student..

  2. knightnews,
    one day your going to realize that going against your student government president is not only making you guys look horrible as reporters you guys are going against someone who is probably your age growing up and learning as a person. All these concerts SGA throws, the printing lab which michael created, the scantrons, the add on to the gym that is environment-friendly which he gave you a behind the scene too, you can look past them and try to make it like michael is not a hard working person and thats fine. Hes still going to work hard and give you all the things he promised, and will go far. And your report shows not only that you guys have nothing else to report on but that fox news apparently has not much either, keep trying to take him down, because its making him shine more.

  3. I love how my name is still around… If I remember correctly I was never on the real news about wasteful spending. The only thing I did wrong was tell kids that legalizing marijuana was not my priority and that I did not care about putting green roofs on every building.

    I kind of feel bad for Kilbride. Kid cant buy a break! We bought a 10k golfcart when I was president. Difference between Kilbride and I is that I always knew how to solve situations before they hit the news..Fox, Knight News, Future, etc. He just closes his eyes and hopes it all goes away. SGA does its best for students. REMEMBER SGA IS STUDENTS ALSO…in the end they are trying their best!

  4. Adam Brock is one of the hardest workers that I have ever personally worked with in my entire life. Why don’t you ask Stein? He was one of the guys who practically helped run his presidential campaign as a freshman 2 years ago.

    As someone who works with Adam on a regular basis in IFC, the kid is loud and passionate and sometimes a little too excited about things. Schu and him make a hell of a 1-2 punch that has changed IFC completely in the matter of 1 year alone. People including myself, bring up Brock running for President to him all of the time and he shruggs it off, telling us he doesn’t even know if he wants to do it. He even told me he is considering running for aepi president. As for knightdrive, I really don’t know what it is anymore, but he’s always asking for some opinions on it and what others would like to see with it when he’s over the house. I’m pretty sure something else is in the works. I highly doubt $52,000 is budgeted for absolutely nothing. I’m not wrapped up in the sga bs, but they are pretty monitored when it comes to stuff like that (especially with the legal guys).

  5. You think $8,000 on a desk is bad? How about $52,000 on a KnightDrive program that was already cut by General Counsel, plus another 6,000 allocated to pay some self-absorbed douchebag who does nothing anyway except talk about how he wants to run for SGA or IFC President all day.

    Maybe Kilbride can reallocate that money to MSC – I think they’d use it a bit more responsibly (har har har)

  6. How in the world did you even get a copy of the purchase order? And I have seen the desk and honestly I dont see why they even needed a new one. I mean honestly the only reason I have ever see the SGA office was when I went in to get a scantron. But I did happen to notice the new desk the other day when I left the ASF office.

  7. Straight up Dumb. I hope kilbride is never in a position to decide where oter peoples money is going ever again. What an asshole.

  8. Shane Chism,

    When you actually pick up a GQ and learn how to dress yourself you can go commenting on peoples attired.

    Knight News, could you possibly sponsor one for him?

  9. If they event get that far… The president from last year is a 7th year senior. There corrupt people get involved in SGA and because they pay themselves so much, with our money, never leave. Hitt needs to get inolved.

  10. I hope the SGA kids are still laughing when their future employers google them and see what likely will be Florida’s governor disapproving of their spending choices with public money.

    Good luck dealing with reality once playtime is over.

  11. It is Supervisor of Elections. Not Chief Elections Commissioner….its sad that this reporter cant even get a simple title right.

  12. The desk seems less welcoming to me. It screams take your scantron and get out of my office. You can barely see the face of the student working at the front.

    They should have kept the old one. Maybe move the desk money to give more scholarships. I know SGA people don’t realize it because they pay themselves, but students are hurting.

  13. Didn’t you know Kilbride and his comptroller can basically reallocate any line item they want anywhere they want.

    What the hell does a fancy wasteful desk that even the state’s top democrat thinks is stupid have to do with governmental affairs?

    Is this an impeachable offense?

  14. This is incredulous(sp) too! I spent about $12,000 to hire my friend to be on my staff, but at least he was able to try and do things that benefit students. This desk does nothing but block students from the student government office with its high top and imposing size. I think student govenrment should try a little harder at making its image as good as mine was when i was running this school (into the ground).

    Berkovitz

    P.S. I didn’t write that last part…

  15. According to the purchase order you guys linked, this desk came from the “Governmental Affairs” portion of the budget, which was allocated $21,000. There is a separate category for scantrons, line 139, which was allocated $25,000. The gripe should be with who constructed the budget a year ago, not how the money in that budget is being spent. The real issue KN should focus on is why line items such as “governmental affairs” are being allocated 21k. It’s scary to think the people who run this website nearly gained power over SGA last year and don’t understand how the budget process works and where the real flaws are.

  16. Sorry. Couldn’t take this “investigative report” seriously with that clown of an interviewer’s tie looking like he just got off work. Get some professionalism clown. KnightNews loses again.

  17. I thought the whole retreat thing was a bit of a stretch and biased but this situation is disgusting! I normally like to hear both sides of the story, has he responded to the email yet? His defense at the presidents meeting was unjust, for $8,000 you could buy the receptionist 40 blackberrys! (8,000/200)

    Mr President,

    Please stope wastefully spending OUR money. You were voted in by myself and other students because we thought YOU were best for the job. Please start acting responsible.

    Sarah

  18. How in the WORLD is that desk worth $8,000?!? I saw it when I went to get a scantron – it’s not even that great.

Comments are closed.