Communicating the Wrong Message


You know those annoying event reminders that pop up on your Facebook page? Well recently I was alerted to a panel discussion of Women in Politics to be held at Florida Atlantic University. The event indicates it is co-hosted by AWCSF and FAU; Association for Women in Communications South Florida, and Florida Atlantic University.

Hoping to secure a ticket I anxiously went to the Facebook page only to see that two female candidates currently running for Boca Raton city council are part of the panel. Missing from the roster is the one female candidate who also happens to be the only alumna of FAU – Andrea Levine O’Rourke.

The efforts to rectify this professional slight initially met with red tape and a series of ‘fake facts’ surrounding the panel selection.

Fake Fact #1

“The panel is not about a political agenda but about women in politics, future, present and past” Tonya Scholz President, Association of Women in Communications South Florida

Fake Fact #2

“I am not involved with the organization or hosting this event.” Constance J Scott, FAU Director of Local Relations, Former Deputy Mayor of Boca Raton and Panel Guest.

Fake Fact #3

“This is an educational discussion.”

Excluding the only female candidate, who is an FAU alumna, from this panel does a disservice to the student population. The FAU Alumni Association should be outraged as should the members of FAU Student Government.

To add insult to injury the AWCSF is also hosting a forum specifically for the female candidate running against Andrea Levine O’Rourke prior to the March 14th elections. We have yet to determine if the charter for the AWCSF permits them to endorse local candidates or to influence votes by their members.

A nonprofit organization is prohibited from directly or indirectly intervening in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Additionally, voter registration activities with evidence of bias or having the effect of favoring a candidate are also prohibited. (See for more specific guidelines)

The tactics surrounding this FAU event suggests political cronyism has seeped into a beloved public institution at its core.

OWLS not only have their feathers ruffled but should start screeching!

Update…. Since this article was penned, we have learned that the Women in Politics forum has been postponed until after the March 14 elections.

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Katie's family moved to Boca Raton in 1970 where she later attended Palm Beach Community College and FAU. Katie is the Founder of, a Boca Raton company which began in 1989 as a small art studio. Works by Haiti’s artists soon became part of a revolving exhibit at City Hall as well as the Boca Raton Library and Community Center. The gallery later moved to Delray Beach and broadened its base to include works by Eastern Cuban artists and Florida Highwaymen. Today her focus is on art consulting and internet art sales. She is on the board of the A.C.T.I.O.N. Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to foster harmony between the Caribbean community and the United States, and currently serves as the Vice President of the Riviera Civic Association.


  1. Political favoritism is evident in many ways. Recently at the Federation of Homeowners Association Candidate forum, an event organized by the federation whose chairman is Neil Haynie, the mayor’s husband, favoritism was abound. In the entrance lobby where people mingled before the event, tables were provided to the candidates for their campaign materials and to greet people interested in speaking with them.. Upon Arrival, tables were in place and outfitted for all candidates except, Candidate for Seat A Patti Dernishi, Candidate for Seat B, Andrea Levine O’Rourke, and Candidate for Mayor, Alfred ‘Al’ Zucaro. Coincidental…I for one do not believe in coincidences….again, political cronyism has seeped into another one of these beloved institutions….Thank you Katie for this insightful and astute article. AZ


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