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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Student Government Senate incorrectly identifies Texas school shooting victims

The initial version of the resolution submitted to the Judiciary committee had missing ages, misspelled names and the wrong date of the shooting

UF Student Government Senate proposed a resolution honoring the 21 lives lost at the Texas elementary school shooting that incorrectly identified the date of the tragedy and the victims’ names.

Four names were spelled incorrectly, one victim’s first name was missing in favor of a nickname and 13 middle names, nicknames and suffixes were missing from the initial document. 

Deputy Minority Party Leader Mohammed Faisal and CLAS Senator Gabriela Montes, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor, authored an amendment correcting the errors.

“When I see something on a document that is meant to honor these lives and memorialize these lives and it appears to be done within the span of just a few minutes, it upsets me,” Montes said, “Because I know there is no document that can undo what has been done to these families.”

Montes said the resolution felt rushed. It cited an article with incorrect information about the victims and did not match the quality demanded of SG legislation, she said. 

“We care that these resolutions be the last of their kind,” Montes said. “I love the intent with which this was done. The execution was absolutely lacking.”

Senate Pro-Tempore Olivia Green and Senate President Elizabeth Hartzog authored the legislation. Green said Wednesday the errors in the resolution were clerical.

Senators voted on the amendment Tuesday, correcting the errors and adding information about the nationwide March for Our Lives event June 11. It also promoted local mental health resources in light of the Uvalde gunman’s mental health issues. 

The Judiciary committee, which reviews all proposed legislation, edited the document to say the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, happened on May 24, not May 25, before it approved the resolution for Senate consideration Sunday.

The uncorrected resolution passed by the committee was still on the SG website as of Sunday night. 

Three other resolutions were passed Tuesday; one recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month, one recognizing the end of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage month in May and an endorsement of a potential Reitz Union parking garage digital tracker. 

Senate approved Joshua Zalkan as the executive Student Honor Code Administration Chairman and elected its new Member-at-Large, Senator Jacey Cable, who will serve on the Replacement & Agenda Committee. Senate also authorized a special request for a carryover of funds to the next fiscal year due to construction delays. 

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The next Senate meeting will be held in the Reitz Union Senate Chambers on June 7 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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