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Saturday, April 13, 2024

In yet another indication that UF's Student Government is destined to continue business as usual, the Student Senate Rules and Ethics Committee decided to unanimously allow Sen. Sheldon Nagesh to continue representing District E despite pressing concerns about his true residential address - which is anyone's guess at this point.

We would by lying if we said that we were shocked at the news.

The fact that Senate President Kellie Dale admitted Monday that she was initially confused about Nagesh's address when viewing his original application yet still decided to go along with it as it was approved by other senators and the Senate secretary speaks volumes about her leadership abilities.

Following the majority opinion when it is clearly not the right course of action does not show signs of someone who has the best interests of students in mind, but rather someone who is willing to allow a bending - or in this case a blurring - of the rules in keeping with party politics.

Of course.

And so we also have to question whether the same quiet consent would have been exercised had Nagesh not been a member of the ruling Gator Party.

Our guess is that his application would have not progressed any further than an SG garbage can.

The argument at Wednesday's hearing gets even shadier. The contention that Nagesh's Texas address could be valid for representing students is laughable. Technically, the Student Body statute that governs who may represent a particular district states that those who wish to represent District E may be from "all zip codes not listed above."

How conveniently ambiguous.

But to suggest and accept that it allows him to continue to represent District E when he so clearly does not reside in Texas full-time is a slap in the face to anyone who expected open, fair government from this administration.

Does this one indistinct statute allow Nagesh the privilege of representing District E?

That argument is so weak that it's hard to understand how it could have been honestly accepted. When Audrey Goldman, chairwoman of the Rules and Ethics Committee, told senators that the entire investigation of Nagesh's address would be transparent, they should have definitely taken her word for it - because we see right through it.

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Further inspection of the statute reveals "All off-campus residents will elect senators in multi-member districts based upon the zip code in which they live." And according to Statute 322.125, "A Senator must live in the district which he or she represents at the time of his election."

So, when Nagesh produced a letter at the hearing that had been mailed to him at a previously unknown Melrose address, the red flags were abundantly clear.

Anyone could mail something to someone, even if the address is completely bogus.

Also, knowing that Nagesh listed a District A address - notably the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity house - on his resume sent to the Replacement and Agenda Committee leaves us wondering what else he has misrepresented. If his resignation can't be forced on a technicality, it should be demanded on account of integrity.

This obvious attempt at deception also shows that the Rules and Ethics Committee should consider dropping its second title because they evidently do not understand any form of ethics.

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