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Saturday, December 03, 2022

Senate stands in solidarity with Iranian women, approves bloc of seat candidates

Clarifying questions slowed more than 2 hours of proceedings

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

Between passing a resolution in solidarity with Iranian women and approving a bloc of candidates nominated to various committees and permanent seats, some student senators raised questions about the chamber’s legal proceedings. 

The resolution standing with Iranian women came nearly 40 days after protests in Iran against the government’s enforcement of modesty laws, which began following the death of Mahsa Amini.

Author of the resolution Sen. Danny Wolcott (Change-Hume), who is Iranian, spoke in public comment, acknowledging protestors’ struggles against the Iranian government. Protests have led to the death of more than 180 people by some reports.

“They are putting their lives on the line day after day, often at colleges just like ours, in order to secure their freedoms,” Wolcott said in his speech. “Student Senate Bill 2022-1049 is just the beginning of the Student Senate’s solidarity with the people of Iran, both here in the US and across the world.”

A member of the public also spoke in support of the resolution, which later passed unanimously.

Senators also approved candidates to various committee and Senate seats, including Patrick Murtha to Accounting and Clayton Bush to College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

The group of candidates was heard and voted on as a bloc, meaning all candidates must be approved or denied together by Senate. However, the special rule caused about 25 minutes of pro-con debate, the contentious issue being Bush’s approval.

Several members of the minority Change caucus — including Sen. Jonathan Stephens (Change-District D), who briefly touched on the subject during public comment — opposed Bush on account of receiving an email from a CALS-affiliated group stating their disapproval of Bush as their representative due to his alleged lack of involvement in the club.

Members of the Replacement and Agenda Committee, chaired by Pro-Tempore Catherine Giordano (Gator-District A), defended their nomination of Bush to the seat on account of his professional achievements and personal dedication to CALS.

Giordano answered five minutes of questioning prior to debate, in which she reiterated Bush, and all the candidates in the bloc, were thoroughly vetted by the R&A committee.

“I firmly stand with the decisions of my committee that everyone in this bloc is deserving,” Giordano said in the meeting. “They have the experience.”

Bush will speak on the issue during public comment at the next Senate meeting, Senate President Olivia Green (Gator-District A) told The Alligator.

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Before hearing debate on the bloc of candidates, Senate moved to a five-minute recess for Green to review Senate rules and address points of information.

Points of information, which are meant for rule clarifications, were frequently used in the meeting, often slowing proceedings as leadership reviewed Senate rulebooks.

Upon returning from recess, Green said some points of information were being used incorrectly, as they should pertain to the proceeding at hand. She also reminded senators to remain respectful in the chamber.

The bloc was approved in a majority voice vote.

Senate will meet again Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Senate chambers, found on the ground floor of the Reitz Union. Meetings are open to the public.

Contact Alissa Gary at agary@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaGary1.

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Alissa Gary

Alissa Gary is a freshman journalism major who covers student government for The Alligator. You’ll usually find her watching (and talking about) movies, taking care of her plants, or drinking coffee when she’s not reporting.


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