In a letter sent to The Alligator on Tuesday, Senator Branden Pearson (Independent, Lakeside) announced his disaffiliation with Inspire Party.
“The party that I slated with back in September is not the party that Inspire is today,” Pearson said.
Pearson said Inspire prioritizes their brand before the well-being of students and tokenizes minorities.
In January, two members of Impact Party’s leadership, former Senate Pro Tempore Janae Moodie and Student Body Treasurer Revel Lubin, disaffiliated from Impact Party because they said it didn’t value minorities.
Inspire President Ben Lima said he disagrees with Pearson.
“I am certainly fully confident in the vision of Inspire party and our caucus,” Lima said. “We are dedicated to representing Gators from all walks of life.”
In Pearson’s letter, he said he was attacked by Inspire leadership when he wrote a bipartisan letter with Senator Emily Dunson (Impact, District A) in support of the Gators Matter, Period initiative.
He said when he disagreed with Inspire about their policies and procedures, he was taken off the executive board.
Lima said Pearson was removed from their executive board about two weeks ago — but because he was mistreating members. Pearson believes otherwise.
“They do not like disagreement; disagreement to them is divisive,” he said.
At Tuesday night’s Senate meeting, Inspire and Impact Senators debated an amendment the Judiciary Committee unanimously failed on Sunday. It would limit senators from serving on more than one committee.
Four judiciary committee members serve on two committees. Senate President Pro Tempore Trevor Schaettle (Impact, District B) said he doesn’t think there was a conflict of interest.
“I think that their decision was for the best for all students, not just themselves,” he said.
The three political parties began to develop their campaign platforms Monday and are continuing to collect ideas throughout the week.
Felipe Gatos, a UF economics sophomore and an Inspire Senator, wrote on Inspire’s board about issues he’s seen as the Brazilian Student Association president.
“There’s not enough scholarships and work opportunities for international students on campus,” the 19-year-old said.
Nicole Mooradian, a UF theatre sophomore, spoke with Challenge Party members about inclusivity. She said SG should be more accessible to students.
“I think it would be good for all parties to come forward and really talk to the students about what they’re for, and allow student’s voices to also be heard,” the 19-year-old said.
Michaela Rechdan, 18, said she went to Impact’s table and suggested adding handwipe stations to each floor of UF’s libraries, especially for flu season.
“I think we could really benefit from staying clean,” she said.