Petition seeks to remove Flagler promotional video

news logoBy Alexa Epitropoulos |

A new petition criticizing a promotional video on Flagler College’s YouTube has attracted dozens of signatures and comments.

The petition, which went live last week, targets the video’s overall lack of focus on academics. While the video features surfing and leisure activities on the West Lawn, it spends little time discussing classes, professors or academic standards.

Aggravating to most is the video’s first seconds, in which a female student says “We all just hang out all the time, go to the beach, go surfing, hang out on the West Lawn, play frisbee. It’s such a laid back school that you’re never really uptight or stressed out about anything.”

Senior Ashley Ryan, who started the petition, said the video is a poor reflection of students and life at Flagler.

“I think the video is aesthetically pleasing, but there is a severe lack of content,” Ryan said. “Any impartial viewer of the video would come away with the impression that Flagler College is more like a laid back, educational summer camp than a thriving academic community.”

Ryan said the video, instead of showing what many students are achieving, seizes on the school’s location and beach environment. While the setting is an element of the college, she said it should not be the selling point.

“I think the video shows what other students think Flagler is known for: a beautiful camps located near a beach with a ‘chill attitude’,” Ryan said. “These should only be seen as bonuses for the school. It should not be the main focal point.”

The video was produced by local production group, Life and Love Studios, which is owned by two Flagler alums. Jay Neumark, one-half of Life and Love, responded to the petition with a statement, saying the video was produced in a series and was intended to show the “lighter side” of Flagler.

“This video was created by recent Flagler graduates who put a lot of time and effort into creating something that hadn’t been done before,” Neumark said in the statement. “It’s easy to look back at something and say how it could be better, but there is always that first step which people are afraid to take.”

The video, which was uploaded to the Flagler College YouTube account over a year ago, only recently sparked outrage from students and faculty. The petition had reached 60 signatures of its 1,000 signature goal on Tuesday.

Ryan has had a positive response overall from students and professors about the petition. She hopes that it will motivate the administration to either request a new video or ask that the footage be reedited to show a more in-depth perspective of the college.

“I think it is imperative that lines of communication open up between faculty and administration to create a more realistic narrative that balances both academics and student life,” Ryan said.

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