Constitution Day

By Hadassah Lansiquot
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Orange County Judge Antoinette Plogstedt and Orlando Senator Gary Siplin were the featured speakers at the West Campus’ Constitution Day, hosted by the Student Government Association on Sept. 13.

Judge Plogstedt has held several judicial assignments since 2001 and is currently serving as criminal judge. She discussed numerous topics, including how she got her start in the law profession by joining her college’s SGA club, the requirements to becoming a lawyer- which include at least 5 years as a member of the bar association, and the differences between a district court and a circuit court.

Senator Siplin, who was elected to the Senate in 2002, placed special emphasis on his “pull your pants up” bill which discourages students from exposing unnecessary body parts and instead, adhere to a dress code in order to obtain academic and future career success. Senate Bill 228, co-sponsored by Representative Hazelle Rogers, passed unanimously by a 101-15 vote and was later signed by Governor Rick Scott.

Siplin’s main points included the importance of youth education and the consequences of not practicing proper hygiene for interviews-both of which he integrated into his “pull your pants up bill.” When asked why he thinks the Constitution is relevant today, Siplin replied that he believes it is “our road-map to how we survive in America” as well as our bill of rights. Both speakers ended their discussions with a question and answer session.

Patrick O’ Connor, SGA President who has been with the club since 2009, first joined because he likes to reach out to people and see others succeed. SGA boasts over 1,000 members campus-wide. Some challenges he feels the club faces are that certain policies and rules on Valencia’s campuses need to be changed or addressed, but are not always accomplished or attainable due to hindrances.

O’ Connor hopes that SGA will be a “stronger, better organization that really stands out” in the future, one that “cares for its students.” His goal for the Constitution Day event was for students to “get a feel for legislative issues” in the state as well as learn what procedures to follow in order to become a judge, or any legislative profession, and how to reach those goals.