Although open to the public, standing Student Government committee meetings are often only announced on a clipboard on the ground floor of the Reitz Union. Students who do not pass the area and are not members of the committees themselves have no other means to find out SG meeting dates and times.
Some chairs use the Senate email list to communicate to senators when meetings take place — but many do not. Members of the public can also get on the email list by contacting Senate Pro-Tempore Noah Fineberg, though it might not help those interested stay up to date with all meetings because not all chairs use it to communicate their meetings.
Beyond the clipboard, committee chairs decide how to communicate their respective meetings at their own discretion, Senate President Annabelle Groux wrote in an email.
Groux did not say why SG meetings are not publicly noticed more widely, or if SG had plans to broadcast its meetings more widely in the future.
Budget and Appropriations, Rules and Ethics and Information and Communications usually stick with posting notices on the clipboard a minimum of 24 hours before the meeting takes place. These committees have not sent emails or broadcasted meetings publicly and consistently anywhere else.
SG must follow Florida Statute, which requires board or commission members of a governing agency to give “reasonable notice” for public meetings, according to SG Codes.
Former Senator Zachery Utt (Murphree, Independent) wrote in an email that although he believes there is debate on what exactly “reasonable notice” entails, posting on a clipboard misses the mark.
“I think that the ‘leaders’ in charge of student government work actively to exclude the student body from participating,” he wrote.
Another example of limited student involvement in SG included Senate’s change of codes in Fall 2020 that made registration for public comment less accessible. Those interested in public comment must now sign up 24 hours in advance as opposed to right before the meeting, as it was the case before the pandemic.
Minimal public notice results in a lack of student participation, Minority Party Leader Gabrielle Adekunle wrote in an email. She also stated she believes just posting the public notice in the Reitz isn’t accessible enough for students.
There’s a calendar on the SG website with a Senate tab where meetings are listed. However, that calendar has remained blank since listing Fall election dates.
It is unclear how current senators in specific committees are notified of meeting dates.
Contact Allessandra 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.