GRAYSON LANZA RESIGNS AS DIVERSITY COORDINATOR, BUT QUESTIONS STILL REMAIN.
By Sean D. Hartman
Earlier this week, the Central Florida Post and other news outlets reported on social media posts made by Grayson Lanza, the UCF Student Diversity and Outreach Coordinator, which disparaged Trump supporters back in 2016.
The post from Lanza, stating that Trump supporters were not welcome on campus, made national headlines and received scrutiny from both the Left and the Right. We also reported how Lanza has attacked other right-leaning students for supporting Trump, including allegedly using ethnic slurs at a Palestinian-American supporter.
Days ago it was revealed that, in response, Lanza has resigned his post as Diversity Coordinator, and President Nick Larkins has accepted his resignation.
In a statement on the President’s campaign site, he spoke about how he wanted to unify the campus, and he felt that Lanza’s comments broke that promise.
“When appointing him to the position of Diversity and Outreach Coordinator, I stressed my campaign promise about creating an environment in SGA that is inclusive and supportive of all students,” President Larkins said in his statement.
But there are still questions remaining, particularly about what President Larkins knew and when he knew it.
Knight News, who first broke the story about Lanza, and who serve as one of the official news outlets for UCF, has been trying to retrieve public emails pertaining to Lanza, but has since been sidelined by UCF.
Knight News made the public records request to the Office of President Nick Larkins on July 31, requesting “any and all emails” that President Larkins sent and received regarding Lanza and the Diversity Coordinator position.
President Larkins forwarded the email to SGA Student Involvement Director Shane Juntunen, who explained that President Larkins was out this week, meaning that Knight News could not receive any emails.
Knight News challenged this as a purposeful delay, denoting that in the past, the SGA has stated that Juntunen, not President Larkins, was responsible for the emails.
“On one hand, UCF insists that you produce the SGA president’s records. That results in a delay when you’re not available,” said Kyle Swenson, editor-in-chief at Knight News. “On the other hand, you won’t produce the SGA president’s records when he’s not here, resulting in a delay on that end.
“UCF needs to make a choice – either you have custody and control and can pull the SGA records yourself (and make the determination as the custodian as to what can be released), or the SGA president can. UCF can’t delay newsworthy information by creating an undetermined amount of additional custodians we have to go through, especially if it’s done in a way to maximize the delay.”
This is not the first time SGA has denied Knight News access to public record. Recently, the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that the SGA was violating Florida law by covering up spending controversies being investigated by the student newspaper.
Central Florida Post will continue to report on this story as it develops.
Sean Hartman is a Junior at the University of Central Florida and the former Vice President of the Southwest Florida Young Republicans. A self-described classical liberal, he runs a political blog Sean Hartman: Professional Political Nuisance on Facebook. His Twitter is @TheGeekpublican.