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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Colin Solomon felt well prepared for his interview with the Student Government Senate summer replacement committee. He was being interviewed by the committee for the vacant seat of Mackintosh Joachim (Inspire, District D).

Solomon, a 19-year-old UF criminology sophomore, brought the committee a packet that included his cover letter addressed to Committee head and Senate Pro Tempore Emily Dunson, his resume, an idea sheet and a copy of a resolution he had written and passed through the Senate last semester.

Equipped with what he needed for the interview on Thursday, Solomon said he was hopeful he would retain the summer replacement seat for District D.

About seven hours later, Solomon left disappointed.

Out of eight people on the committee, only two people voted for him to retain the position he had been appointed to a month earlier.

“When I asked what more I could have done, I was met with silence,” Solomon said. “Not a single member of the group was willing to lend me advice for potential further interviews or otherwise.”

There were 25 new Senate members appointed by the committee. Of those 25, only 13 had been previously appointed by absent Senators on April 23.

The new summer appointments have altered the composition of the Senate, said Ashley Grabowski, Senate Minority Leader.

The percentage of Inspire Party-affiliated senators dropped from about 34 percent to about 26 percent. This means Inspire will not have enough senators to block Student Body President Michael Murphy’s executive nominations to the SG Supreme Court if they do not support the potential candidates, Grabowski said.

Nominations and approval for agency heads, cabinet chairs, cabinet directors and executive secretaries will also be impacted by the new composition of the Senate.

Solomon said during deliberations only Grabowski was willing to have a discussion about his re-appointment and out of the eight people present, only Grabowski and Senator Stephen Singleton looked over the documents he brought before voting.

However, he is not giving up, he said. Solomon plans to apply for other open Senate seats, continue to attend Senate meetings and comment during public debate.

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The way the committee handled the summer replacements was in violation of SG rules, Grabowski said. She said the committee only needed to appoint enough senators to attain quorum, which would have been three seats. Instead the committee filled 25 seats.

Many of the committee’s appointments were voted on without any discussion or review of the paperwork that had been submitted by candidates, Grabowski said.

“I am ashamed to be on the same committee as those people, and they don't deserve to be referred to as leaders,” Grabowski said.

Senate Pro Tempore Emily Dunson, who was the chair of the committee, said they followed all protocols outlined in the SG Rules and procedures.

“I wanted to ensure all statutory requirements were satisfied for this meeting and that ground rules were established to ensure all applicants were interviewed in a timely manner,” Dunson said.

Dunson also said even with the new appointees there are still more vacant seats that will be filled in the coming weeks. She said the committee will recommend potential candidates to fill the rest of the positions, and the Senate will hear the recommendations and vote on them.

Update: The story has been updated to reflect other executive positions that will need Senate approval in the coming weeks.

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