A former SGA employee called for the resignation of three SGA officials on Thursday night at the last UCF SGA Senate meeting of the fall semester.
Former SGA Facilities, Safety, & Transportation Coordinator Chandra Kethi-Reddy, 22, called for the resignation of UCF SGA Student Body President Nick Larkins, SGA Advisor and Office of Student Involvement (OSI) Director Shane Juntunen and SGA Office Manager Sandra Briggs during an open forum, a period that allows anyone to come to the podium and make comments or express grievances.
All three were accused by Kethi-Reddy of violating UCF’s Golden Rule against improper conduct such as harmful behavior, which includes but is not limited to verbal and digital abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion and bullying, Kethi-Reddy said.
After Kethi-Reddy’s speech, he said he would soon file an affidavit for impeachment if Larkins, Juntunen and Briggs don’t resign.
Among other things, Kethi-Reddy claimed Larkins is not temperamentally fit to be president, Briggs has created a hostile work environment with a long history of intimidation and Juntunen has consistently overtaken student projects and failed to take care of basic duties.
Kethi-Reddy’s speech was a reiteration of his press release, which was posted on a website Kethi-Reddy said he made and is meant to outline the infractions and violations of the three individuals he accused. Although his speech added personal examples of the “hostile work environment” Kethi-Reddy said the three created.
“I remember once when I was in Nick Larkins’ office, and he took his two fists and [banged] them against the desk and said ‘Why can’t you be compliant?’ ” Kethi-Reddy said.
The accusations came after Kethi-Reddy, an industrial engineering and philosophy major at UCF, was terminated from his SGA position on Tuesday and Larkins made a lengthy and detailed post about it on Wednesday, which was posted to the official SGA Facebook page, Larkins’ personal Facebook and the “Nick and Cristina” campaign Facebook page.
While Kethi-Reddy was being terminated, he announced his resignation, Larkins said.
The seemingly now-deleted message from Larkins drew criticism due to its descriptive nature of Kethi-Reddy’s work habits and personal life.
“President Larkins has repeatedly yelled, screamed and threatened at me for multiple reasons, none of which he truly put into that Facebook post that included his mention of my mother’s brain tumors,” Kethi-Reddy said.
The post on the main SGA Facebook was promptly deleted, and Larkins’ said in an email on Wednesday that he accidentally posted the message to the main SGA page and only meant to post them on the other two Facebook accounts, although they are now all seemingly removed.
Kethi-Reddy claims Larkins violated the Florida Sunshine Law, a law that guarantees the public access to governmental meetings and records, by deleting the post on the main SGA Facebook page.
As word spread through social media about Kethi-Reddy’s speech, the audience filled with people, some not even UCF students, who mostly left after Kethi-Reddy spoke and Larkins made his announcements.
“[Juntunen] had failed to operate and approve the services of OSI, leading to a long-term, wide-scale aggravation among Registered Student Organizations across this campus,” Kethi-Reddy said. “Almost every RSO on this campus has expressed significant discontent with their inability to make use of the resources offered to them because of delays that are happening within the operation of OSI.”
One of the issues Larkins raised in his statement centered on Kethi-Reddy “sleeping in his desk chair in his office wrapped in a blanket and pillow while on the clock … ,” according to the Facebook post.
Kethi-Reddy claims Briggs “beat the door” of his office in “front of everybody” to wake him up and focused on the unprofessionalism of the abrupt awakening.
“What is an office manager for the Student Government Association doing in an educational facility screaming at students instead of promoting their ability and nurturing their ability to move forward?” Kethi-Reddy said.
After Kethi-Reddy spoke, Larkins apologized for the way he issued the comments about Kethi-Reddy and said the way he handled the situation was a mistake.
“Rather than responding in a dignified and calm manner, I let my emotions get the better of me,” Larkins said.
In a twist of events, Larkins read aloud a Sept. 18 email from Kethi-Reddy that depicts his awareness of the gravity of his job performance.
“This email is a formal, written apology for my negligence in performing the basic tasks, responsibilities and duties of this position as well as for not performing these tasks with the professionalism expected of someone in this position,” Larkins read from an email allegedly sent by Kethi-Reddy.
Kethi-Reddy allegedly acknowledged in the email that due to his “transgressions, inattentiveness and incompetence,” he could be removed from his position.
Larkins said Kethi-Reddy was terminated due to his inability to do his job and swiftly moved on to other matters.
“As I have just shown you, the claims Chandra has made are lies and nothing more than that,” Larkins said. “This is the last time that I will speak of Chandra or mention his name as president.”
Although the outcome of the situation is unclear, it will be a learning experience, Speaker of the Senate Josh Boloña said.
“I don’t think anyone was a liar; I think they all had their perception of what happened, and that’s what we all have to realize,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any malicious intent in either side, they’re just giving their perception.”
Before Kethi-Reddy spoke, Florida House District 49 Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) kicked off the open forum.
Guillermo Smith discussed his goals for widening the scope of Bright Futures scholarships by pushing for comprehensive and inclusive tuition coverage to become permanent. Currently, only students receiving the top-tier Bright Futures award get 100 percent tuition coverage for one year, according to the Bright Future’s website.
“I believe the Medallion Scholars have been left behind by the Florida Legislature, and right now the Medallion Scholars are some of the students who need the scholarship money the most,” he said.
Guillermo Smith also said he was able help sponsor a bill that secured $2.5 million to go toward UCF RESTORES, which is a clinical research center and program that provides treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
He also touched on his goals of raising Florida’s minimum wage to $15, banning “military-style guns” and decriminalizing marijuana.
A few hours into the meeting, the audience thinned and the Senate returned to more standard functions: awarding funding to RSOs, making senate confirmations and passing a resolution.
Almost $88,000 was awarded in funding for RSOs ranging from helping fund the printing of the 29th edition of the Cypress Dome Magazine to sending 14 members of UCF’s Student Nurses Association to go to the National Student Nurses’ Association Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
Of the 19 fiscal bills, all passed but one.
Fiscal Bill 50-53, which would award $6,750 for 30 members of Young Life College to travel to the Young Life College Survivor Week Leadership Conference in Destin, Florida, in March of 2018, was postponed indefinitely and the bill was killed.
Ultimately, the Senate agreed the event came across too much like a recreational retreat due to its lack of keynote speakers and absence of other universities to network with as UCF would be the only university attending.
Four new senate members were confirmed at the meeting: Sen. Avi Bryan for the College of Education, Sen. Mpho Cho for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Sen. Husam Alhaddad for the College of Sciences and Theressa Tong as deputy pro tempore of legislative affairs.
As the meeting extended into the early hours of the morning, some official business such as hearing and voting on internal legislation was pushed to the next senate meeting, which is on Jan. 11, 2018.
Although 11 pieces of internal legislation were postponed, one was insisted upon being heard.
Resolution 50-17 was a piece of legislation written by Sen. Corey Marcous in support of UCF Knights Football Head Coach Scott Frost to continue his time at UCF.
The resolution unanimously passed, and a copy of the resolution will be sent to Frost, Athletic Director Danny White, UCF President John C. Hitt and Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Services Maribeth Ehasz, according to the resolution.
The meeting adjourned at 3:30 a.m. and Senate President Pro Tempore Sierra Scott said it was “absolutely” the longest senate meeting of the semester.
Nikolay Boytchev, a member of the Senate Leadership Council, said the meeting was “one of the most legendary sessions of this year.”