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Thursday, October 28, 2021

While I was re-learning grammar for the like the third time, the course I was taking made a point to distinguish between “feeling bad” and “feeling badly.”

To “feel bad,” is to feel about something in a way that perhaps one could describe as “not good.” On the other hand, there is “feeling badly” which is to say that you are doing a bad job at feeling things at all.

Put a hairpin in that thought as I now describe to you just a sliver of the wild events that happened at our Student Government Senate meeting on May 28.

That Tuesday night, the Senate was to consider executive appointments. Now after we reviewed the appointee’s applications, it seemed clear that Michael Murphy’s bad judgement has ”trickled-down” from his social media posts to the people he was appointing. I guess it was a mix of the usual stuff we see every year of people being appointed to positions who either don’t have the qualifications or experiences necessary to succeed, but this year was particularly bad.

In the case of the Freshman Leadership Council (FLC), an agency under Student Government that focuses on professional development for around 50 freshmen each year, a Senator with no prior experience with the agency was appointed to run it over experienced members of FLC’s leadership team who applied. That’s a weird agency to screw over; typically this sort of things have happened to the less important agencies and cabinets in the past. To screw over FLC though makes little sense, as the program has a robust alumni network of Student Government officials on both sides of the aisle that care very deeply about the program (though perhaps Michael was rejected as a freshman after applying to the program; then everything would make a lot of sense).

FLC has a lot of alumni that serve as Senators, so of course Mike was setting up the moral conflict of having majority party Senators (who love to bootlick) vote on an appointment that would certainly dishonor the legacy of an agency that they have fond memories of being a part of.

The current and former members of FLC, in addition to calling and emailing Michael (who apparently didn’t do a good job replying), made sure to come down to Senate to protest the appointment. The cherry on top was when FLC members tagged Senators in the Facebook comments on my live-stream of the meeting to call them out on voting against the interests of FLC. As per their usual disdain for democracy, the majority party opted to skip debate on the agency head appointments so all we really have were the individual roll call votes of Senators on the agency heads.

Of course, everyone watched some particular members of Senate with particular scrutiny. FLC alumni such as Cooper Brown and Tyler Kendrick have been placed in leadership positions so of course it’d be very interesting to watch the way they voted. Would they vote the right way or publicly flaunt their moral weakness?

After the agency heads were approved, one Senator asked which way Kendrick voted. Brown interjected “You don’t… Why are you saying that?” The Senator responded “for the record” to which Brown responded “you’re literally making him feel bad.”

Oh, I wasn’t aware we were supposed to be insulated from the emotional consequences of our actions. What a concept! Tyler Kendrick, I hope you feel bad because that’s a good thing; it means you recognize that the majority party coerced you to vote in a certain way against your personal interests. The converse is “feeling badly,” which I imagine is the stage Cooper Brown is at as he apparently believes that people shouldn’t feel bad about screwing over FLC. Maybe people who make bad decisions should… feel bad?

Tyler, I don’t just hope you feel bad, I hope you feel terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. It’s a sign that you’re still a decent human being. Learn from this, grow from this and maybe (definitely) even consider changing your behavior and re-examining your allegiances.

Zachariah Chou is a UF political science junior. His column appears on Thursdays.

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