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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Amended Student Senate budget maintains fees, caucus addresses Senate President exoneration

The amended $22 million budget passed its first reading unanimously and will fund 1,000 student workers and resources on campus

<p>The UF Student Senate meets in the Senate Chamber of the Reitz Union June 7, 2022. </p>

The UF Student Senate meets in the Senate Chamber of the Reitz Union June 7, 2022.

An adjusted UF Student Government Senate budget will move about $92,000 from Recreational Sports operations to personnel payroll to avoid potential student and employee layoffs.

An amendment to UF Student Government Senate’s 2022-2023 budget passed its first reading unanimously Tuesday to address the UF Board of Trustees denial of a 5% increase last year.

The budget also provides wages for more than 1,000 student workers on campus and funds other campus resources such as the Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry and Southwest Recreation Center.

The Student Government Student Activities and Fees budget has increased by about $1 million since the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This year’s initial budget, passed Aug. 3, 2021, was denied a 5% increase from $22.5 million to $23.7 million in line with the upward trend. Student fees and tuition fund the budget. 

The amended budget moves $225,000 from SG to the Student Activities and Involvement fund for the signature events program and adjusts payroll for inflation. This program supports events serving 500 students or more and allows event planners to lock in three years of funding at once, Budget and Appropriations Chairwoman Catherine Giordano said.

“It’s these events that truly impact the student experience,” she said. 

Giordano’s committee will draft the 2023-2024 budget later this semester. 

Budget and Appropriations Committee members spoke during public comment in support of the bill and urged Senate to approve it to continue funding for various campus resources.

“As a senator, it is important to me to make sure constituents, which is any student on campus, have access to necessities that they may need to strive and reach their full potential,” Committee member Senator Johnny Liu said during the livestreamed meeting. 

The amended budget is expected to pass its second and final reading at the next Senate meeting.

Two resolutions passed Tuesday, one celebrating 50 years of women’s athletics at UF and another supporting additional composting stations around campus and residential halls.

The Resign to Run Act, which requires SG officers currently in office to submit conditional resignations before running for another position, also passed. 

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Judiciary Chairman Senator John Brinkman, its author, said the act is meant to align with Florida state statutes and promote commitment to elected positions.

Senate approved Zachary Shenkman for a replacement Engineering seat and Joe Andreoli for a permanent graduate seat. An additional seven replacement seats and eight permanent seats remain open. 

Senator Jonathan C. Stephens stood during public comment earlier in the meeting and condemned the Rules and Ethics Committee’s exoneration of Senate President Elizabeth Hartzog June 2. He described the hearing as “comedic,” said the committee’s ruling leaned into partisan loyalty and bowed to Hartzog’s authority by accepting her defense. 

Minority Party Leader Faith Corbett spoke in contradiction to the evidence Hartzog presented during the hearing. Corbett told Senate she did not agree to cancel the May 17 Senate meeting as Hartzog testified. 

She said half of Hartzog’s defense, which argued Corbett agreed to cancel the meeting, should qualify as hearsay because Corbett was not subpoenaed. 

“I understand that this is now all behind us, but I wanted to set the record straight,” Corbett said.

The next Senate meeting will be in the Reitz Union Senate Chambers June 14 at 7 p.m.

Contact Sandra McDonald at smcdonald@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @sn_mcdonald.

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Sandra McDonald

Sandra McDonald is a third-year journalism major and the Student Government reporter for the University Desk. This is her first semester at the Alligator. When she's not reporting, she's probably reading fantasy novels and listening to Taylor Swift.


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