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Friday, September 29, 2023

Faculty and non-student members of UF will pay more to park on campus soon.

The UF Board of Trustees approved the proposal to increase non-student decals by 5.5 percent, or by $18, as the third phase of the plan to fund the new parking garage, which is currently under construction at the commuter lot on Gale Lemerand. It is scheduled for completion in February 2020.

The orange and blue decals will be $396, compared to the prior $378, effective May 1, according to the meeting notes.

Faculty Senate President Katie Vogel-Anderson opposed.

“I appreciate the new parking garage that increases net parking spaces,” Vogel-Anderson said. “I just don’t feel in favor of this regulation to increase parking prices for faculty.”

Parking decals had a 7 percent increase in May as part of the plan to pay for the new garage. As of 2018, the new garage had a maximum budget of $34.2 million.

The approval of parking decal increases was just one of the board’s key actions on Friday, which concluded a two-day meeting which started Thursday afternoon.

At the Friday meeting, the trustees also approved 18 new appointments to the boards of five Direct-Support Organizations, which have been set up to support the university, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.

The Direct-Support Organizations receiving the new appointees include the UF Citrus Research Development Foundation, UF Alumni Association, UF Investment Corporation, UF Research Foundation and UF Leadership and Education Foundation.

The board also approved the following namings of philanthropic individuals on university facilities: Kathy and Tom Shannon Family Concourse (West Side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium), Gator Band Alumni Association Pavilion, Kincart Family Gardena and Adam Michael Rosen Neuromedicine Clinic.

The board meeting was not met without controversy. Divest UF, a student activist group, protested outside Emerson Hall while the meeting broke for lunch. When the meeting reconvened for public comment, seven members of the organization spoke.

“We’re pressuring admin and the Board of Trustees to pull [money] out of toxic industries, including fossil fuel corporations, private prisons and other human rights violations,” said Jojo Sacks, a 20-year-old UF anthropology senior and a student organizer for Divest UF.

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In response, the university released a statement saying the UF Investment Corporation Board voted to adopt an enhanced Environmental, Social and Governance policy.

This will call for a thoughtful and holistic review of investment decisions that incorporate environmental, social and governance factors, the statement says.

“My generation is the one that will begin to feel the impacts of climate change,” Sacks said to the board. “As students, we will not allow our institutions to put corporate greed ahead of humanity. Collectively, our voices will be heard.”

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