UCF students Richard Stein and Mo Barhamje are calling out the current SGA power-structure for hiding public records, being out of touch and ignoring students needs.
By Jacob Engels
The campaign for the SGA Presidency is getting contentious in it’s final week with the Stein/Barhamje ticket increasing their criticism of the current SGA at UCF, which is now the nations second largest school.
Richard Stein, who is running as the presidential candidate, is a former legislative analyst in the Florida House of Representatives. He has also held positions at Citi Group and Lockheed Martin. Stein is majoring in finance with a minor in political science. Barhamje is a published researcher who works in the UCF Bacteriology Lab. Mr. Barhamje also owns several successful small businesses.
Both Stein and Barhamje have made transparency a center point of their campaign. In stump speeches on campus and during an interview with Knight News, they have made it clear that they are employing a “no bullshit” approach.
“We are not going to sit here and promise things we can’t deliver to students. The current SGA leadership is unresponsive, secretive and working against the best interest of students,” said Stein.
He told us that the SGA is redacting information from their records that should not be withheld from the public or students, and that the financial activities of the governing body are not readily available for viewing in a timely or understandable manner.
“This campaign is not about personal enrichment and vanity. Mo and I want to make the SGA more transparent and accountable to students. Not being involved with the student government is plus. Students don’t want more of the same,” Stein continued.
Their opponents include an SGA Speaker of the Senate and an SGA cabinet member. But that is not stopping them from pushing onward. Stein even challenged them to a rap battle.
“As a small business owner and as a published researcher, I have had my fair share of successes and failures. The students deserve better, and that’s why Richard and I are putting our ideas out there and being honest about what we can do to improve the SGA,” explained Barhamje, a Timber Creek High School graduate.
The Stein/Barhamje ticket are also pushing to streamline parking, providing more condoms to students and an online mechanism developed by the SGA for students to report harassment. A fair and balanced review of Greek life Stein also shared with us an idea he and Barhamje have come up with that would allow students to be placed in mentoring groups with UCF Alumni, called MyAlumni.
“From in person interaction to communicating digitally, we envision both the mentor and students setting their own pace. Maybe some will engage in shadowing opportunities, while others will receive weekly calls from mentors.”
The Assistant Vice President of the Alumni Relations Center “loves the idea” according to Stein.
“If you want more of the same, don’t vote Stein/Barhamje. However, if you like the idea of having a President and Vice President who will actually listen to students needs and achieve attainable goals, give us a shot,” said Barhamje.
He told us that their ticket has the support of a notable Greek life organization as well as numerous campus clubs, and that they have been well received during each opportunity they have had to interact with students.
The elections are being held between March 30th and 31st, with a runoff on April 1st if needed. Students can figure out how to cast their vote by clicking here. Learn more about the Stein/Barhamje ticket here.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org