Three parties are set to face off in the Fall 2021 election: Change Party, Gator Party and Communist Party, with 36, 50 and 11 candidates on the ballot respectively.
Students can vote Sept. 28 and 29 at one of seven polling locations between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Candidates are elected in Fall according to their residence and represent other residents in Senate votes.
Each party’s platform differs from one another. Here is a summary of each group’s goals this year.
Change Party’s platform is focused on two pillars: community and justice.
It consists of 14 issues split into four categories: equal opportunity, a return on investment, inclusion and freedom of speech.
Change candidates plan to advocate for equal opportunity by funding several programs, such as building ramps at the O’Connell Center and Marston Library as well as implementing unisex bathrooms on campus. The party also wants to put more funding into UF’s Counselling and Wellness program.
The party also plans to rebuild the Gator Connect portal, which currently does not provide direct access to SG officers’ contacts and dissuades involvement, according to the platform.
As part of the freedom of speech section, its platform states it will try to extend the Title IX statute of limitations in the Student Handbook from one to four years so “survivors of sexual assault are not silenced.” Change carried on this goal from their Spring platform when they also campaigned to extend the statute.
The party also promised to appoint student officers without the use of bribery, extortion or quid-pro-quo, and make online voting for elections available on ONE.UF. Change did not comment on how bribery, extortion or quid-pro-quo is currently used by student officers from other parties.
Change Party candidates also plan on working with Transportation and Parking Services to provide more parking spots and lower Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol wait times. Additionally, Change wants to increase job fairs along with opportunities for first-generation and international students.
Change Party did not provide further comment on its platform outside of what was posted online.
Gator Party has remained the majority in Senate since Spring 2020. Its platform focuses on enhancing and streamlining the student experience in several ways.
Gator Party separated its platform into four sections: student health and well being, on-campus experience, Gator-aid and Gator accessibility.
The party plans on adding links to ONE.UF for mental health resources, putting up mask dispensers around campus and expanding workout equipment by partnering with RecSports.
This added workout equipment includes pickleball courts at the Southwest Recreation Center and punching bags in the Student Recreation and Fitness Center.
“We will be partnering with Rec Sports to bring exciting new opportunities for students to maintain healthy lifestyles,” Gator Party campaign manager Noah Fineberg wrote.
To enhance the on-campus student experience, Gator plans to add Gator 1 cards to mobile wallets, showcase students’ art pieces on campus and install power outlets at popular outdoor study spaces.
To help disadvantaged students, Gator Party plans to implement a program allowing students to donate school supplies for other students to reuse. They also want to permit students to donate their unused flex bucks to other students in need and provide study service scholarships.
“For many of our students, study services are an essential part of their learning experience,” Fineberg wrote. “Gator Party wants to increase academic equity for all of our students by providing as many opportunities as possible for students to engage with these services.”
Gator Party did not elaborate on what specific study services it would provide.
To solve parking issues on campus, Gator plans to advocate for temporary parking spots in lots on campus during periods of construction, and re-establish parking ticket forgiveness.
Gator Party currently holds the majority in the Senate with more than 60 senators.
“Gator Party is the party students have trusted and will continue to trust to lead our campus,” Fineberg wrote.
Communist Party, also known as Socialist Party, aims to amplify marginalized voices and participate in activist causes. It participated last Fall as the Progressive Party.
Its platform included eight points on ways it wants to change campus.
Communist Party candidates plan to establish two Senate committees: one consisting of SG-salaried employees responsible for deciding their work conditions and wages, and a second committee to protect leftist and LGBTQ+ students from the state government.
Student workers would vote to appoint the first committee’s members, Communist Party president Alfredo Ortiz said. The second committee would consist of students who identify as members of those communities and would be appointed in a special election.
The committee to protect leftist and LGBTQ+ people would be formed to rectify the damage committed by the Johns Committee, a committee that operated at UF from 1958-1965. The group’s goal was to find and purge left-leaning students and gay people from the university.
“Senators have a duty to respond to the needs of the student body,” Ortiz wrote in an email. “Our ideas are supported by a growing number of students who are currently not represented in the Senate.”
Communist Party also plans to host seminars on Critical Race Theory with SG community organizations like Students Taking Action Against Racism. Critical Race Theory has been banned in Florida public school classrooms since June 10.
“It is incredibly important to challenge the ban on Critical Race Theory and provide access to its teachings to those willing to use it to create solutions for issues regarding race so that we may continue moving towards a just society,” Ortiz wrote.
The Communist Party wants to put the University Police Department’s budget in the hands of the students. By doing this, UPD is held accountable by the people it’s meant to protect, said Ortiz.
“Therefore, our intention is not to abolish the university police, but rather reinvent it so that it is more responsive to the students,” he wrote.
Contact Allessandra Inzinna at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ainzinna.
Allessandra is a third-year journalism major with a minor in English. In the past, she has covered local musicians and the cannabis industry. She is now the Student Government reporter for The Alligator. Allessandra paints and plays guitar in her free time.