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Monday, May 27, 2024

On Wednesday, I went to Student Body President Jordan Johnson’s town hall forum concerning the new fee for the Reitz Union  expansion and repairs. The forum made clear that Johnson is all about appearances and does not care about substance. Despite the repeated explanations I and others gave him that graduate students are already financially stretched thin and do not use the Reitz Union enough to justify paying the fee, he continued to evade the issue and use George W. Bush-like circular logic. Such an approach was not only insulting, but it betrayed the fact that, at the end of the day, Student Government is for and by the undergraduate population, and among them, the Greeks.

This is not a battle between graduate and undergraduate students. It’s the fact that graduate students’ concerns about essentially paying a tax to subsidize the undergraduate “student experience” are not being heard.

The Reitz Union cannot offer graduate students anything that our own departments do not give us, but Johnson, once again, does not care. He stated over and over again that the fee issue is up for referendum later this semester, but a simple vote cannot show how a significant demographic of the UF campus feels. The ballot doesn’t ask us to state whether we are graduate or undergraduate, and undergraduate voters will almost certainly outnumber graduate voters. If Johnson actually cares, he should survey all graduate students about their use of the Union and if they’re willing to pay the fee instead of pretending to feel our pain.

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