Gainesville City Commission may nix student advisory board


The City of Gainesville may phase out its student community advisory board. Commissioners met Thursday to discuss ending the program after recent struggles to recruit new members.

City officials cited a lack of action, spotty attendance and recent resignations as reasons to shut down the board.

Commissioner Reina Saco says the city should consider letting board members finish their terms before they are disbanded.

“These are folks who volunteered to do this work and to try and help the city and their neighbors,” she said. “I’d hate to tell someone who got appointed six months ago, ‘Hey, we don’t want you.’”

The student board is made up of seven voting members who make recommendations to the city commission and voice student concerns. 

Saco says she would like to see the city reorganize the board if the commission decides to combine it with another existing one.

“Do we tell everyone to just go home tomorrow?” she said.

The student advisory board, which was also set to meet Thursday afternoon, did not have enough members in attendance to reach a quorum.

Bahram Dideban, who moved to Gainesville in 2015 to work as a physician at Shands Hospital, was the only board member to show up.

This would have been the first meeting for four of the board’s members, including Dideban, who joined in October. Dideban said he was disappointed to see he was the only person who made it to the meeting.

“It just takes some effort to get people’s interest reignited,” he said. “Sometimes, people just need a little reminder of why they wanted to do what they wanted to do.”

Dideban said he hopes to see the city put its resources where they’re needed, even if that’s not the student board.

Gainesville city staff will come back to the commission with a transition plan to phase out the student board. The commission did not set a meeting date to receive the plan.

About Jack Prator

Jack is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

Check Also

US Senate candidate with Florida ties accused of impersonating a federal agent

A U.S. Senate candidate with ties to Florida is set to be arraigned in a …