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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Late last night, outgoing Student Government Senate President Davis Bean gave his goodbye speech. Bean had the opportunity to speak at length about UF: what the university has taught him, what he’s gained from his time working for it and the wonderful Student Body he’s ostensibly worked to provide for would have all been suitable, substantive and daresay inspirational subjects. Instead, Bean delivered a speech that would have made Donald Trump blush. Flushed with self-congratulatory musings and utter contempt for anyone who dared disagree with him, Bean took his farewell speech, something normally seen as an opportunity for grace and class, and instead chose to run through his personal hit list, with the Alligator among his targets.

In his speech, Bean said that he had a problem with the Alligator due to a lack of fact checking. In a half-baked attempt at lending credence to a non-existent conspiracy, Bean claimed we colluded with a student who wrote a letter to the editor expressing frustration with the lack of SG representation for Infinity Hall. Bean maintained that the student, who also spoke at the Senate, had to have written the letter prior to his appearance, and we printed the letter afterward to somehow shame SG. While we wish we could claim that we’re as nefarious as Bean proposes, it simply isn’t true.

We could go on and on about the myriad ways Bean shamed us last night, such as how we have printed typographical errors or how we’re biased against Greek organizations (despite having fraternity and sorority members alike in several of our sections). Instead, we’d like to take the opportunity to clarify a few things.

It is no secret that many think that the Alligator has a bias against SG: the contentious relationship between the two organizations stretches back for decades. With that said, any contentions are the lone result of one thing: the truth. As journalists, it is our obligation to report the facts, investigate the leads and call out any wrongdoing. If Bean was not comfortable with our coverage of SG, maybe he should have gone about his job differently. Furthermore, we have continuously made it a point to stress our open-door policy: Bean, why didn’t you reach out to us directly to express your concerns?

In his speech, Bean said that he has a pet peeve with bullies. We feel comfortable in asserting if that were truly the case, he would not have insulted fellow Gators in a public forum that is meant to inform — not shame — the Student Body.

Leaders, especially in SG, ought to embody ideals that inspire fellow students to be better. For a moment, we’d like to speak as fellow students rather than the editorial board; sowing divide and discord is not only unbecoming of our leaders, but is downright shameful. As these pages have read time and again, we say that being a Gator is the best because WE ARE the best. Because we are the best, there are certain behaviors that we shouldn’t stoop to, with unprofessionalism being chief among them.

In the meantime, we will continue to do our job the only way we know how: with passion, integrity and respectability. We hope in whatever endeavor he pursues, Bean will learn to do the same.

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