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Friday, September 29, 2023

Spring Break just made Smith Meyers something of a minor celebrity. I’d comfortably bet he has better name recognition now than when he won the Student Government election.

In Key West, he completely blacked out and knocked over a series of scooters and motorcycles after failing to steal them — but this is not controversial. That he tried to steal these vehicles so he could (presumably) drive home, even though he was so drunk he didn’t know he was in Key West — this is not controversial either. In fact, it’s hardly been talked about at all.

No, what makes the Meyers case controversial is that a vocal minority of UF students — all of them, weirdly, members of his party, the Impact Party, or social circle — believe Meyers shouldn’t be criticized at all.

All week long, the Alligator has fielded op-eds from supporters, sympathizers, current Student Body President Susan Webster and Meyers himself. These are passionate defenses against those who suggest that — maybe — Meyers should resign, given his criminal record and making the rest of us look like idiots. Some of these suggestions have been (gasp!) irreverent in tone, which prompted one writer to draw parallels between criticizing Meyers and death threats.

Meyers’ supporters frame their cause like this: Yeah, what he did was stupid, maybe even wrong, but why should we let one night of drinking ruin a young man’s life?

Look, I don’t care that Meyers clearly loves booze. Frankly, I’d be worried if he didn’t like to put on a load every now and then. I sure do. I’ve been drunk before and have plans to get drunk in the very near future. What concerns me is that when the future representative for UF has four or five too many, he starts acting like it’s Grand Theft Auto IV out there.

I went to the protest Tuesday — just for a quick visit. A giddy contingent of counter-protesters surrounded the person speaking and shouted “Stick with Smith!” over and over ... and over. Most had prank signs, some of which were really funny. “Jet fuel can’t topple scooters” was my favorite.

Why stick with Smith? None gave a reason. They simply stood there, grinning and yelling, shouting down fellow students.

That’s all this is: a huge joke. They don’t need to give a reason — they never will, because they know they’ll get their way, no matter what.

We knew that already. We knew SG is nothing other than a toy for Meyers and his friends. He won’t resign, won’t get fired and likely won’t even face charges.

To Smith Meyers; to his friends and his supporters (if there’s a difference): We know you don’t give a damn about us — you know we don’t like you at all. Why try to convince ourselves otherwise?

Let’s drop the act. You exist only to serve yourselves and pad your resumes. That’s fine! But quit claiming you’re any kind of public servant, or that you speak for me or any other student.

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Don’t worry: I won’t stand in the way of your weird little dreams. Your plans to draft posts for Marco Rubio’s Instagram or whatever are safe. In return, when the bloated, drunken disgrace you call a president hits the headlines, I’m going to make fun of him.


Alec Carver is a UF history senior and a former Alligator opinions editor.

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