Is UCF Breaking Public Record Law to Protect Kilbride?

If you walked by the Student Union’s Pegasus Ballroom this afternoon, you may have noticed workers setting up for an elaborate ceremony. But this wasn’t a setup for UCF alumni getting married on campus; it’s a lavish goodbye party embattled SGA President Michael Kilbride is throwing himself — courtesy of student activity and service fees.


SEE PICTURE SLIDESHOW OF LAVISH PARTY


KnightNews.com asked UCF to release records showing how much this annual ceremony dubbed “Passing of the Gavel” costs around noon today, but neither the professional public relations staff or A&SF Business Office staff responded with the records or cost estimate by the end of the day.

The delay in producing requested records comes after UCF has so far refused to release an official copy of the scathing impeachment affidavit filed against Kilbride last week, alleging he should be kicked out of office for wasteful spending and questionable ethics. UCF may be breaking Florida Public Record law with this delay, if the delay is interpreted as illegal for taking longer than reasonably necessary to retrieve the records, redact and release them.

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The alleged ethics violations in the impeachment charges centered around how Kilbride’s SGA did $50,000 in business — often without getting bids –with a company Kilbride admitted gave him a $2 per shirt deal for his campaign shirts. When KnightNews.com exposed the situation around the time of the SGA presidential elections, Kilbride issued a statement to KnightNews.com saying he does not condone pay for play activities and made it clear it would be his “final statement” on that matter.

He has released no further statement to KnightNews.com regarding the impeachment. KnightNews.com will work to find out more about the ceremony tonight, what’s on the menu and will try and track down Kilbride to interview him and ask why his SGA decided to spend money this way.

See a slideshow of the pictures below, just click Next Page on the bottom right to see the next one.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Huh, were you on the same Student Senate that went on the lavish retreat in October? Didn’t see you complaining then. In fact, I bet you were the one that made a face into the camera when they filmed you guys.

  2. If Kilbride has nothing to hide, why hasn’t SGA released the documents saying how much this cost (assuming they haven’t yet and the story wasn’t updated). What was the cost per plate and what was on the menu???

    Also, I looked for this on the SGA website and they didn’t put video oup of this but they do for all the frat stuff. Why would SGA ignore covering something so important. Sorry, but this doesn’t pass the smell test. If you aren’t comfortable with what you are doing being on the front page of the paper, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

  3. I actually quit student senate this semester because I couldn’t deal with all the biased voting. It seemed like the smarter the RSO was the less funding it got and the more Frat or Business the more it got. With that being said I didn’t appreciate the Kilbride stopped by a total of two times during the two semesters, gave an announcement, and quickly left. He really didn’t seem to give a sh!t. While I was pissed about the $12,000 spent on Creole food and all the Engineering groups getting sh!tty funding I don’t think the event was a big deal. It was free on campus and the food is from UCF. But, I agree maybe we should cut back on the plaques. Student Senate does work for free (5 hours a week) so I think they deserve that at the end.. Not so much Kilbride or the Protemp or any of them for that matter… They actually get paid to do nothing but act like stuck up jerks to everyone.

  4. All of these expenditures that you complain about are budget line items that are in the Activity and Service Fee Budget, which Kilbride had no control over. If you have concerns about how your money is being spend then you should have voiced your opinions before this last budget just passed. Stop making accusations when you have no idea what you are talking about.

  5. The SGA member in charge of this event was Joey Femia, Chief of Staff. Most of the equipment used was free. The tables, the screens, the lights, the chairs, etc… The table centerpieces were put together by members of SGA and Femia’s family, so they were cheap. The food came from MARKETPLACE.. The “lavish” party was actually a cheap dinner that only looked lavish. SGA did everything they could to make this event affordable and still classy enough for president Hitt, who attended. Knight news is a terrible biased news source that needs more info before jumping to conclusion.

  6. @Danny

    “Obama…sends our country over the edge in debt.” Seems like you’re the one who might be a little thick in the head. You’re clearly forgetting the previous EIGHT YEARS under another certain Mister President. With #43 at the helm, you may recall, we produced the housing bubble and backsliding mortgage adjustments, saw banks using outdated accounting principles, and let Wall Street run completely amok… all of which led to the sorry state of affairs that Obama has had to deal with. So, uh, great research.

    But I digress, “I’m sure Kilbride got a deal”? Your lack of factual argumentative form and quickness to defend Mr. Kilbride is quite telling.

  7. Ok, I said “They haven’t put out much in support of this administration (thus indicating a bias?)” Again, let me reiterate….much in support of the administration. I did not say KnightNews doesn’t support what THEY write, trust me I know they do. I know about all the e-mails and all their public records requests, I read through them. They support what they write, not the Kilbride administration (what I said…go back and read my comment.)

    Also, yes they did do good press on the study space and distracted driving, but they never acknowledge Kilbride did something positive or contributed when he did. And you say “There just is so little good news to outweigh the bad, that’s what shines through.” No, KnightNews forces the bad to shine through. If they wrote all good, they would have a bias FOR the administration and people would think Kilbride does only good. It’s all about how things get slanted. Do your research and look at all the stuff that’s been accomplished: KnightLynx, ZimRide (and don’t say ZimRide sucks because every program takes time to get off the ground, he at least got it going), study space, distracted driving, for the first time put greek events streaming online, and on and on. Did he do everything perfect? No. Did he mess up a lot? Yeah. But let’s give some credit where credit is due. You pay tuition so it can be spent through programs FOR THE STUDENTS. Would you rather your money sit around for nothing or go back to the university in a positive way?

  8. And as a continuation of my first comment, all you people complain that SGA should be wiser with how they spend our money (which I completely agree with, but when SGA spends over $120,000 to take less than 1/4 our students to Universal Knights for a single night there are no complaints, nor are there when SGA pays for organizations to take trips to professional conferences. What I am saying here is that if we want to argue for SGA to be more fiscally responsible, then we also need to take into account some of the other ridiculous expenditures that they have.

  9. You’ve got to love the argument: “they did it before so it is okay now.” Like somehow it would be okay if Kilbride bought a Hummer with SGA money if he only found out that other President’s have done this as well.

  10. As a student who worked at this event last year, and perhaps the biggest advocate to the idea of Kilbride being impeached, I can say that this article is really embellishing everything. The event was done the same way this year as it was in previous years. It is not something that Kilbride is even in charge of or that he would be able to throw for himself as the article implies. Don’t get me wrong, I hate Kilbride, but this normal event really can’t be pointed at him as anything he did wrong. If anything you could say that SGA in general must start taking steps back to start spending money more wisely, but really Knightnews, this is you guys just trying to stir up a last bit of controversy before he is out, which I mean you really don’t even need to do-he left enough big issues to discuss that you shouldn’t have to stretch the truth to come up with one.

  11. Knightnews hasn’t put much out to support what it writes about in SGA? You must be joking… they practically published an entire manifesto detailing everything they got so you can make up your own mind:
    http://knightnews.com/2011/04/michael-kilbride-sweetheart-shirt-deal-ucf-sga-documents-timeline/

    The pictures don’t lie. Kilbride was stupid to have such a nice event after he faced to much backlash for wasteful spending during tough economic times. And to say they don’t do good SGA news is BS. I read their stuff on the distracted driving and 24 hour study space. There just is so little good news to outweigh the bad, that’s what shines through.

  12. I’m sick and tired of hearing this “they did it before me argument” to justify unacceptable behavior.

    First of all, the story already points out it is an “annual” event so we get that. If someone embezzles money and gets away with it 10 times in a row, it doesn’t make it right the 11th time when you get caught. ENOUGH!

    Whether this happened before or not, we are still outraged that our money is being spent in this way and UCF and its gigantic PR machine refuses to turn over the information saying how much it costs; instead, the PR office spends its time spinning ways to manipulate data and justify keep faculty wages low while Hitt gets the most. Like Hitt, like Kilbride. They are two peas in a pod.

  13. Well said!

    And just so everyone knows, this ceremony is typical. Every aspect of it, from the food to the table settings. KnightNews questions EVERYTHING Kilbride does when much of the stuff he does actually is within reason. Point is, he got things done and it costs money to get things done. So, I pose the question to everyone who reads this article: if KnightNews can question everything Kilbride does, when is it time for the student body to begin questioning everything KnightNews.com writes? They haven’t put out much in support of this administration (thus indicating a bias?)

    Decide for yourself, but just so everyone knows, this fancy ceremony happens annually. I’ve seen them set up for it every year since I’ve been here.

  14. As an involved student who genuinely cares about student dollars I can say this article is ridiculous. I usually just sit back and don’t really pay much attention to the “news,” but this article is merely trying to bash Kilbride. Honestly though, if it wants to question something it should be the system.

    First of all, it’s not that “Kilbride threw himself a lavish goodbye party” rather it was a ceremony that occurs at the end of every year called, Passing of the Gavel. Usually the Student Government Association, the Office of Student Involvement, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Multicultural Student Center, administration from all sectors, as well as President Hitt and other administrators gather to celebrate the successes of the year.

    The real question should be why has SGA spent money on this type of reception? And not even the reception, but more so the plaques? The reception itself couldn’t have been that expensive. It was held inside the Student Union and the food was catered by the company that runs Market Place. But I mean I’d like to know how much did the awards for all the individuals cost? Why have students voting on the A&SF budget have approved this spending? Is it necessary to have a plaque? I would be interested to know the total cost for the ceremony to make a more educated stance, but I do think that to criticize Kilbride for something that is tradition for SGA is pretty stupid.

  15. This article is absurd.

    I’ve been to this event before. It is a simple banquet, with Student Union resources and supplies.

    Recognition is given out to people who’ve worked hard. People recognize the current SGA, and then congratulate the next group.

    It’s SIMPLE. It’s practically FREE. And, we’re not talking Disney; it’s in the UNION.

    Can Kilbride and the current SGA do anything right in your minds?

  16. @ Kilbride

    Are you dense? Obama says we must live within our means, and then sends our country over the edge in debt. Great reference.

    So they have an end of the year party. Who cares. Every one has done it in the past, and I’m sure Kilbride got a good deal on everything that went on. He usually does. If it’s lavish, but didn’t cost a lot, then who gives a crap?

    Haters gonna hate!

  17. How is it NOT outrageous to throw this kind of party on the STUDENTS’ dime? If he had funded it or it was thrown for him by someone else, that would be seen as (at worst) strange rather than completely outrageous and unfair to the University. I think he deserves every ounce of torment that’s in store for him.

  18. Maybe 5 years ago this type of thing would have been OK. But these are tough times. Budgets have been slashed, Obama was on TV today saying we have to live within our means…. and then we have this lavish goodbye party.

    You ADJUST when the economy changes. What would have been a little outrageous 5 years ago is extremely outrageous now. This honestly looks like the nicest ceremony they ever had — and these are the worst times!

    What’s wrong with going to the arboretum and having a picnic lunch/bbq? This was overkill, he deserves the public outcry.

    Kilbride hasn’t learned a thing since his first scandalous retreat broke in August.

  19. I am a huge supporter of knightnews, but this has gone to far. Students on campus are so unaware of the Presidents job and what presidents have done in the past. This passing of the gavel has been going on for some time. Just because knightnews questions it, doesn’t mean it is outrageous or the wrong thing to do. What is wrong with having a “lavish” dinner at the end of the year for hard working SGA officials? It is a celebration night and a thank you to everyone who has worked hard this past year whether you agree with their policies or not. I have never supported Kilbride but i do respect him. I also know that he has not done anything that is completely outrageous or unheard of for a president to do. Everyone who jumps on him because Knighnews like to make controversies, needs to step back and look at what other presidents have done in the past.

    Being the President of this or any other university is a very prestigious honor and i respect everything Kilbride has done. Like i said, i do not agree with his policies, but i do feel bad for him because of the tormenting he has received.

    Sincerely,

    A huge knight news fan

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