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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Two senators gave their goodbye speeches at the June 20 UF Student Government Senate meeting while other senators reflected on the Summer A term.  

Senators spoke about issues surrounding bipartisanship, legislation and nominations that were or weren’t approved, and statements made at previous public comment sessions. 

Senate President Oscar Santiago Perez (Change-District D) called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.  — with 60 senators present — and adjourned at 8:58 p.m. 

Legislation could not be heard because the Replacement and Agenda Committee didn’t meet June 18. Due to this, some Senators described the Senate meeting as having a “skeleton agenda.”

The Senate unanimously approved 13 Student Senate Bills, which had been moved into a bloc. The bills were mostly budget-related pieces of legislation.

Public comment started off with Sen. Bryan Garcia-Ramos (Change-Engineering), who said the effort on both sides for the ad-hoc mental health committee is an example of how the two caucuses can work together.

“Now more than ever do we need to work together to advocate on behalf of the student body,” Garcia-Ramos said. 

Other senators who were present at the June 17 Rules and Ethics Committee hearing provided clarification on the trial’s outcome and their hopes for transparency in the future after a case had been filed against Santiago Perez. 

Rules and Ethics Committee Chairwoman Lilliana Clark (Gator-District A) reiterated the implications of the committee’s decision for the case, and her hopes for future transparency within SG and corroboration inside the chambers. 

Sen. Coe Leavengood (Independent-Hume), a Summer A replacement Senator who was initially Change affiliated, gave his goodbye speech, his first and last time speaking in front of the chambers.

Leavengood affiliated as an independent shortly after his first Senate meeting because he felt he was reprimanded for not voting among party lines and with his conscience instead, he said. 

Sen. Mohommad Faisal (Change-District D) went on the podium with a box of tissues while sharing his experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia. He expressed final, sentimental words to the members of his Caucus in a 13-page goodbye speech. 

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Faisal reflected on the good and bad times in SG, and said he hopes to see everyone do their best as they remain involved. 

The meeting concluded with announcements. Sen. Raj Mia (Change-CALS) shared Graduate Assistants United is hosting a bargaining session June 23 to negotiate higher wages with UF. 

The Senate will not meet again until July 11 due to the end of the Summer A semester and the July 4 holiday. 

Contact Vivienne at Follow her on Twitter @vivienneserret.

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Vivienne Serret

Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, reporting for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.

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