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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Change Party: Moving UF forward, together

SG’s $23 million budget needs some change

Opinions generic
Opinions generic

Our Student Government and our elections are supposed to reflect the interests of the entire UF student body, no matter who you are. Unfortunately, there has been persistent misallocation of student funding, prioritizing a slim number of interests. The inequitable distribution of our student budget was most recently manifested in the recruitment of Accent speaker Josh Richards for $60,000. 

Public outrage became imminent, with student organizations, academic resources and mental health outlets struggling to meet the demand of the student body, given their scarce funding. 

Change Party fights to restore and protect the voices of students that are often tactically dismissed. We exhibit democratic integrity through our caucus' commitment to enacting social justice legislation. 

Despite only compromising 18% of seats in the Student Senate, the Change caucus has authored or sponsored around 73.1% of legislation on the Senate floor during Summer 2022. Our initiatives are often met with unjust bureaucratic blockades. 

For example, the Change caucus has a pass rate of 31.8% on the Senate floor and the Judiciary Committee, in contrast to the Gator caucus, which has a pass rate of 100% due to the immediate dismissal by the majority party due to partisan lines. However, the Change caucus has successfully put up more than 50 pieces of legislation. This reflects the passion and drive of such a small group of individuals to overcome the institutional barriers set in place to hinder democratic processes. 

Change Party has strictly enforced accountability and transparency across the Senate in order to rebuild legitimacy with UF students and protect the needs of our constituents from unjust political practices. We stand united against the opposition that is determined to disenfranchise voters. 

Our initiatives, such as our “Legislative Public Awareness Intensification” Amendment and “The Internet Voting Accessibility” Act, have been blocked by the Gator-filled  Judiciary Committee. Progressive voting measures should never be inhibited, especially when we’re the only Southeastern Conference university without access to online voting. 

We believe the students’ interests and voices should determine our interests as elected officials. Political corporations should serve no role in the agenda of the Senate. That said, our senators host a number of meetings to interact with their constituents and uphold their needs. UF students deserve assurances that their representatives work for them, not in their own special interests. 

To ensure that funds are invested efficiently and equitably, Change Party has made several attempts to use the best available evidence when making spending decisions. For example, Change has conducted an extensive report of library hours and associated funding to display our commitment to this cause. We later proposed the “Twenty-Four Hour” Amendment, with the support of the dean of libraries, which would have allocated $130,000 of SG funds to use for Marston Science Library. 

Ultimately, our party is vital because it’s built on the foundations of our pillars: social justice, equity and representation. 

As Change Party, we believe every student in this university should be treated with respect and dignity, and this includes being heard. Our platform serves to establish grounds regarding accountability and transparency, ensuring each student is truly advocated for. Change Party seeks to achieve environmental, racial and sexual justice on campus by informing individuals about SG and presenting tangible and equitable solutions.

Change Party is a Student Government political party slating in the Fall 2022 SG election.

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