At Tuesday’s Senate meeting, Katie Waldman was accused of unethical behavior and recited a prepared defense. She took her new office minutes later to a round of applause.
Waldman will chair Student Senate’s Allocations Committee, which oversees money given to Student Government-funded student organizations.
Waldman got the job after each senator voiced a yes or no vote. She was met with a round of applause from her Unite Party peers when she was approved 56-21.
Several senators drew attention to the fact that Waldman was with former Senate President Pro Tempore Jason Tiemeier when he threw away several hundred copies of The Independent Florida Alligator.
The pair were campaigning together for the Unite Party. Tiemeier named Waldman as his companion in a March 12 Alligator guest column.
Students Party Sen. Morgan Vollrath asked Waldman why she didn’t come forward about Tiemeier’s role, which he and Unite Party officials originally denied.
“Contrary to any implication, I didn’t do it,” she said. “I counseled Jason not to do it. He agreed. I thought I acted very responsibly.”
She repeated that as Vollrath and Minority Leader Sen. Carly Wilson asked her about her involvement and why she didn’t speak up.
After the meeting, Waldman said she had no comment on why she remained silent about the incident. She said she kept repeating the statement because it “best sums up the event.”
Waldman has been a member of the Rules and Ethics and Allocations committees for about a year.
Unite Party senators asked Waldman only about her Senate experience. Waldman joined the Allocations Committee in May 2011. It handles about $90,000 a year.
Sen. Lauren Verno spoke about Waldman’s experience in setting up the extended library hours and as co-chairwoman of a temporary Election Codes Revision Committee.
Unite Party Sen. Cayman Weimer said senators would be ridiculous to make a decision based on one mistake. He later said that he had no comment on his endorsement of Waldman.
Unite Party spokeswoman Sen. Christina Bonarrigo said it is not a citizen’s duty to stop a criminal action and that the situation had nothing to do with Waldman’s nomination.
Bonarrigo left her seat to whisper to several senators throughout the meeting. She said after the meeting that the senators had procedure questions.
She also whispered to Senate President Aundre Price, a member of the Unite Party, and at one point during the meeting tried to instruct him on procedure.
Student Senate voted to approve all its recommended committee chairs and members at the meeting.
Three new committee chairs were elected: Verno will chair the Rules and Ethics Committee, Weimer will chair the Judiciary Committee and Waldman will chair the Allocations Committee.
Bonarrigo said after the meeting that she did not think Waldman’s silence was unethical. Waldman said nothing while party officials, including Bonarrigo, denied the accusations against Tiemeier and accused the Alligator of making the story up.
“She told Jason Tiemeier not to do it,” Bonarrigo said. “And that’s all she was required to do.”
Newly elected allocations chairwoman Sen. Katie Waldman sits with Unite Party spokeswoman and Sen. Christina Bonarrigo in the Student Senate meeting Tuesday night.