Does UF Student Government have enough time to pass resolutions? Senators only have three school weeks left to do so.
The semester has been a rollercoaster for SG after: a protest for blue lights on Fraternity Row, a minority party victory, Donald Trump Jr.’s speech, published emails between the Student Body president and a Trump campaign official and calls for said president’s resignation and impeachment.
But no policy has been passed during this ride.
With only a handful of SG Senate meetings left in Fall 2019, the likelihood of any legislation passing is slim. Only drafted resolutions have seen the light of day, and no policy has been discussed.
After Inspire Party, which is traditionally in the minority, won the majority of available seats Sept. 25, the confirmation of election results was delayed and disputed for weeks until Oct. 16, when the Senate certified the results.
Senators then debated who should be the judiciary committee chair and who should earn new committee seats.
None of Gator Party’s platform points, such as installing a ramp between the Marston breezeway and the Reitz Lawn or library capacity counters, or Inspire Party’s platform points, like expanding free printing locations to include Marston Library or expanding the Uber Safe Rides discount, were ever brought up in Senate meetings.
After University Police announced it will install four blue lights on Fraternity Row, the blue light issue was out of SG’s hands, and Inspire senators no longer had to advocate for it in Senate.
The only new legislation brought up were drafts of resolutions, which are non-legally binding statements that do not relate to policy or any platform points students voted for. These resolutions condemned SG’s “misuse” of students’ activity and service fees to bring Trump Jr. to campus, and supported sexual assault survivors and the UF law student group “We Believe Survivors” in light of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas teaching a Spring law class.
“I think the way we can use our time more effectively is by actually considering legislation on its merits and not for what’s politically advantageous for the majority party,” said Inspire Caucus leader Sen. Ben Lima.
One of the most pressing campus issues is the revision of the SG 800 funding codes. UF’s largest student organizations representing minority communities, referred to as the Big 9, demanded action following SG’s reallocation of funds due to a $66,000 lawsuit against UF by the Young Americans for Freedom organization.
Gator Treasurer Richard Doan said while the time spent on reviewing election results was necessary, he would’ve liked to see the Senate dedicate time revising codes to allocate funds for the Big 9 organizations rather than on other debates.
“I think working on the funding process is something that is especially important during this time because it deals with money that would help student orgs run their day-to-day activities,” Doan said.
Doan said he does not know why SG spent more time debating than affecting policy.
“I think that’s everyone’s question,” he said.
Ben Lima, a 21-year-old political science senior and Inspire Party senator-elect for District D, speaks out against the use of student activities and service fees funds to host Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle as Accent speakers at a Student Government meeting Tuesday night.