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Tuesday, March 05, 2024

UF’s Student Senate approved the final group of the executive nominations during Tuesday night’s Senate meeting.

The appointments, which were the subject of controversy at the Senate’s last meeting on May 28, included the approval of cabinet directors and executive secretaries. Cabinet director appointments included Sarah Bartolomei for Finance & Affordability, Chloe Parrish for Women’s Affairs, Mason Brooke for Veterans Affairs and Brandan Birsic for LGBTQ Affairs.

Executive secretary appointments included Zion Brown for Diversity Affairs, Juan Baralt for Campus Safety and Anjelica Jones for Press.

At the start of the meeting, an Inspire Party caucus member, Senator Zachary Amrose, expressed to the 56 senators present that the party would be objecting to Student Body President Michael Murphy’s nominees for several cabinet director and executive secretary positions. Amrose said the nominees lacked proper qualifications based on the application material they provided.

Amrose said one of the most prominent examples of a nominee who lacked qualifications was Brooke, who was chosen to be the Cabinet Director of Veterans Affairs over Gregory Caudill, who is a veteran and previously ran for Alachua County Commissioner in 2018.

The nominees were voted on in a block, meaning all 34 nominees would be voted on at once instead of being considered individually, a special rule established prior.

Inspire Party members tried to overturn the special order so each candidate could be voted on individually, but the motion failed to pass.

All of the nominees were voted in by a majority of the Senators present. They will start their new positions immediately, said Senate President Libby Shaw.

The executive branch’s nominees for Supervisor of Elections, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court were approved unanimously.

The Senate also unanimously passed amendments for the 2019-20 fiscal year budget. These included increasing student assistant salaries, increasing the copy center budget, increasing staff salaries and increasing the Student Legal Services Program budget budget.

The senate also unanimously passed revisions to two SG codes and two resolutions — one resolution celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month and one celebrating Pride Month 2019 and LGBTQ+ Students.

The code revisions and budget will go through second readings at next week’s meeting before they can be moved forward, Shaw said.

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The resolutions will go into effect once they have the proper signatures from SG officials.

Senator Rebecca Ragan, who helped write the resolution celebrating APIDA Heritage Month along with three other senators, said she was excited to see the resolution get passed.

She said UF normally celebrates APIDA Heritage Month in April, but it is nationally recognized in May.

Similarly, UF organizations host Pride Awareness Month in April and there are various Gainesville Pride celebrations in October during national LGBT+ History Month, but June is nationally recognized as LGBT+ Pride Month.

The passed resolutions were made to recognize and encourage students to celebrate both APIDA Heritage and Pride during their nationally recognized months.

“I was really happy to see full Senate support for something that is so important to me and part of my personal identity,” Ragan said.

This story has been corrected to reflect that student assistant salaries will be increasing and the proper title of the Student Legal Services Program. It has also corrected the spelling of Brandan Birsic's name, which was previously spelled Brandon. 

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