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Sunday, February 28, 2021
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The Student Government Senate minority party, Inspire Party, is not running for election this Fall, but Level Up, a non-affiliated, newly-formed party is, along with four others. 

Senate minority leader Shawn Zimmer (Inspire, District D) announced during the SG Senate meeting Tuesday night the party will not be running in the October elections and will cease all campaign activity. 

The day before, Level Up Party announced it will run, joining Union, Change, Progressive and Gator parties.

Zimmer said although Inspire will not run, the current Inspire senators will continue to work towards Inspire’s goals of transparency, inclusion and accountability as a Senate caucus.

"Inspire's original message has not been completed, so the caucus will continue the fight," he said during the Senate meeting.

Former Inspire President Kristen Jackson and former Inspire former minority party leader Ashley Grabowski, wouldn’t give current Inspire members access to the party social media accounts or permission to re-register, Zimmer said.

Grabowski and other Inspire party leaders wanted to give another party, Change Party, the chance to run successfully, she said, especially with so many independent parties running this semester.

“We saw a group of people that were younger, that were passionate, that had the right ideas,” she said. “We figured it was time to let those younger people take this on and not stand in the way.”

She said current Inspire senators could join the other independent parties running this semester.

Level Up Party created an Instagram page and announced it will run in the Fall 2020 elections Monday, the day before the Senate meeting. 

Level Up spokesperson Wynton White, a current Gator senator for the College of Health and Human Performance, said the party will focus on sustainability, social justice and innovation and technology. White will soon disassociate from the majority party, he said. 

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“Whether or not we get a slate of senators this Fall, we’ll still be doing activism,” he said, “primarily around social justice issues.”

Level Up hopes to be more than an SG party and instead a movement that works within UF and Gainesville to create change. White said Level Up will also have a focus on fighting gentrification in East Gainesville.

“East Gainesville is predominantly Black. It’s of lower socioeconomic status than the rest of the city,” he said.

Level Up will release more information on its goals and platform on their Instagram in the coming days, White said.

Students can vote for 50 Senate seats up for election Oct. 6 and 7. Four new parties are running along with the current majority party, Gator Party.

Union Party hopes to improve funding for student organizations along with other goals. Change Party wants social justice for marginalized groups on campus. Progressive Party hopes to defund the University Police Department and provide students more rent relief, along with other goals. Gator Party has not yet released their platform.

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Lianna Hubbard

Lianna Hubbard is a reporter for The Alligator’s Investigative Team. The UF women’s study major began as a freelance reporter three years ago. She founded her community college’s award-winning newspaper before beginning at The Independent Florida Alligator. See an issue in your community or a story at UF? Send tips to her Twitter.


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