Voting for the SGA Presidential election is just a few hours away, and over the weekend Knight News talked to both candidates to get their thoughts on the recent private jet controversy that surrounds former SGA President Cait Zona.
“First we have to look into where the money came from,” SGA candidate Josh Boloña said, “… If it is student funds, that is not acceptable.”
“It would be up to us, if we are elected and when in office to see when these expensive things are happening, to see where the money’s coming from,” Boloña said.
When asked whether or not he understands students’ outrage to the SGA President flying private with University officials, Boloña responded, “I absolutely understand it, it feels as though that student has been above all others… our message has been that we want to continue to be eye level with students.”
“Transparency is one of the big points of our campaign, we want students to know what we are doing at all times… [W]e are not going to be flying on private jets using student money, we are not going to do anything that the students wouldn’t want to hear, and we want to be held accountable for everything we do,” Boloña’s running mate Jad Shalhoub added.
Nick Larkins and Cristina Barreto had a different response, saying that they needed more information before deeming whether the use of the private jet was appropriate.
“Where did the money come from? Is it really students’ money? Are the students outraged because it is their money and it was being spent on her traveling to Miami with the Board of Trustees members? I think people maybe don’t know all the details, I don’t know all the details,” Barreto said.
When it came to using the jet, Larkins believed that it may have been appropriate depending on the situation and the logistics.
“If the job was to go hire the athletic director or to go to a meeting, again that kind of goes back to their prerogative as to how they get there. But a lot of times if an organization owns a private jet or a chartered jet it can be cheaper than flying commercially… So if the goal was to get from point A to point B at the cheapest [price] and it just so happened to be a private jet instead of Southwest Airlines, I really don’t see what the big deal is,” Larkins said.
Voting to elect the next SGA President begins on Monday.
Stay tuned to Knight News for continued SGA coverage.