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Monday, March 27, 2023

Over the summer, the Swamp Party’s candidate for Student Body president, Christina Bonarrigo, authored a bill that restricts the rights of University of Florida students to freely discuss campus issues.

The bill put into place election codes that prevent students from exercising their First Amendment right to free speech. These codes mean that, as a student, you are not allowed to debate political issues that affect our university without fear of fine or disqualification because that debate is limited to a seven-day campaigning period.

The Students Party stands for freedom of speech. The Students Party values the opinions of all UF students. The Students Party believes students should be able to discuss campus issues any time they want to — not just when Bonarrigo says they can.

Members of the Students Party did everything they could to prevent Bonarrigo’s bill from becoming law.

To stall the bill and prevent it from becoming law on this campus, Students Party senators even resorted to leaving the Senate chambers, but unfortunately, even with this bold action, it passed with the support of current Swamp senators.

In an attempt to restore full freedom of speech, we have fought to amend these codes, but Bonarrigo has prevented us from even debating our amendments in the public square.

These codes, and Bonarrigo’s support of them, represent a direct attack on our constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech.

How can we make this university a better place for students if we are forbidden from talking about issues like corruption and improving student life until only one week before a student election? Why is having an open dialogue so frightening to Bonarrigo and members of her party?

We believe that democracy only functions when there is healthy debate about opposing ideas.

The Students Party maintains that the codes limiting freedom of speech are unlawful.

They are also fundamentally un-American and an affront to democracy on this campus.

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