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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Student Senators played it safe at Tuesday night’s Senate meeting.

Gainesville City Commissioner and UF Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanna Mastrodicasa spoke with the Student Senate during Tuesday’s meeting about safe transportation options and possible improvements that can be made to Gainesville taxi services.

Mastrodicasa said she wanted to hear the opinions of senators so she can recommend    improvements to taxi services to the City of Gainesville’s Public Safety Committee.

“We are in the business of making good policy, but we often don’t know what’s going on on the street,” Mastrodicasa said.

Senators shared their stories about inconsistent and outrageous cab fares they have been required to pay.

Charles said the high prices sometimes discourage students from using the taxi service.

“That is just something that really has a cyclical effect and negatively affects safety,” Charles said.

Mastrodicasa said the issues presented by the senators will be brought to the attention of the Public Safety Committee during the meeting on Feb. 22.

Senators also unanimously passed a bill changing the name and expanding the duties of A.A.R.E.S.T., now called the Gator Health and Safety Agency.

Senate President Ashton Charles, who represents the Unite Party, said the agency previously focused on sexual assault prevention but will now deal with other safety and health issues.

“It’s essentially a name change, broadening it more to be able to represent the students more effectively,” Charles said.

Jillian Rogers, A.A.R.E.S.T. executive director, said the agency plans to work harder to educate students about other health issues such as nutrition, stress management and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

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Charles said the revamped organization will also act as a liaison between health- and safety-related organizations, such as Gator Well.

The director of the Gator Health and Safety Agency will be able to bring these organizations together.

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