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Sunday, October 01, 2023

During next week’s Student Government elections, students will have the opportunity to answer three referendum questions while they are at the polls.

Two of the three questions revolve around a potential student fee that would help fund the renovation of the Reitz Union.

The first question asks if there should be a   student fee to fund the Reitz Union repairs.

The  second question asks if the fee should also fund an expansion of the union.

The final referendum question asks students if UF should join the Workers Rights Consortium, which would ensure UF and Gator apparel is not made in sweatshops.

Senate President Ashton Charles, who represents the Unite Party, said each of the referendum questions on the ballot is important for students to answer.

“A referendum is the perfect way to hear exactly what the students want,” Charles said.

Charles said it is important for students to know about the questions before they vote so they can educate themselves about the issues.

“I think it’s extremely important that students take an active interest in them so they know what they’re voting and how it will be affecting not only the UF community, but the Student Body in general,” Charles said.

Charles said students should take time to educate themselves about the Reitz Union fee and the other questions on the ballot so they can make an informed decision on election day.

She said a student fee would not be the sole source of funding for the renovations.

It could be supplemented by other sources of funding, such as Capital Improvement Trust Funds.

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Jonathan Ossip, Senate leader for the Student Alliance party, agreed that students should have a voice, especially on issues such as the Reitz Union fee.

Ossip said the Student Alliance party favors exploring alternatives to the student fee, including redirecting about $1 million in SG funding to help fund the renovation.

"You know to go straight into students' pockets first is really not acting in their best interests," he said.

There will also be one question regarding the Student Body Constitution.

The constitutional amendment would change the appointment time for summer replacement seantors and amend election laws 

Staff writer Carolyn Tillo contributed to this article.

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