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Thursday, December 07, 2023

Student Senators continued conversation about the Reitz Union repairs at Tuesday night’s Senate meeting.

Senators unanimously passed a bill creating a liaison position between the Student Senate and the Reitz Union Board of Managers.

The liaison will attend the Board of Managers’ meetings and report back to the Senate upon request.

Senate President Kara Olesky said she has been hoping to create a position like this for a while.

“I feel that we should be having stronger communication, especially because we do give them  a budget and we do give them funding,” Olesky said.

Last week, senators rejected a bill presented by the Student Alliance party which would have created a Reitz Union oversight committee.

The committee would have worked with the Board of Managers to determine  which Reitz Union repairs are necessary and why money was not set aside when the union was built to make the repairs.

Jonathan Ossip, Student Alliance party Senate leader, said having a single liaison is better than having nothing, and his party will be working on a comprehensive reform package for the Reitz Union to present to the Senate in the fall.

Ossip said the Senate needs to be looking into how the Reitz Union is governed and how its budget is used.

“It doesn’t take a Ph.D. or an engineering degree to know that you need to maintain money to keep your building going,” Ossip said. “I really hope that in light of the huge problem facing the Reitz Union that this position does actually do something.”

Unite Party Sen. Ben Meyers said a Reitz Union oversight committee would have been redundant.

“But it’s definitely good to have a liaison between us and the Board of Managers,” Meyers said.

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Senators also heard a presentation about the pros and cons of making health insurance mandatory for all UF students.

During the presentation, Brandon Sack, the health insurance executive director for SG, said about 20 percent of students do not have health insurance, while 80 percent have their own plan or are covered under their parents’ health insurance policy.

He said buying the school-sponsored health insurance mandatory would create a 7 percent increase in the cost of attendance.

But students would still be free to purchase their own policies, Sack said.

Any student is free to go out on their own to the individual insurance market and buy their own, which meets certain minimum standards.

Senators also unanimously passed an amendment to the budget transferring about $14,000 from the Accent and SG Productions co-sponsorhsip budget to the SGP general budget.

TJ Villamil chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee said the amendment will help put money back into the hands of students.

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