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Monday, June 17, 2024

With the recent tensions brought forth by campaign season and a new apportionment map, recent Senate meetings have fallen short of being considered productive. Senators have taken public comment as an opportunity to vent their frustrations into the mic — calling one another corrupt and disorganized. 

Tuesday’s Senate meeting saw less argument than previous ones, and Senators pleaded with each other to drop political tensions so that they could approve bills. 

Senate President Oscar Santiago Perez (Change-District D) called the meeting to order at 7:39 p.m.  — with 65 senators present — and adjourned at 11 p.m. due to the Reitz Union closing. 

Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Cox (Independent-District A) asked the Senate Chambers to hear the budget and to not make any personal attacks against each other. 

The budget, which faced debate throughout the Summer terms, ultimately had a line item vetoed by Student Body Treasurer Nyla Pierre — due to this, the Senate will have to hear the budget again. 

Cox asked Senators to keep all comments during the debate period strictly related to the budget, noting he was tired of politics getting involved where it’s not supposed to be. 

Approved nominees and bills 

Several University Committee nominees were approved, followed by an approved cabinet nominee, and approved first and second reading bills — about 25 bills were passed unanimously. 

Senate Parliamentarian Ronin Lupien said one item of note is an authorization that will compel the allocation of $5,000 for an arts pantry with Sen. Cec Wood-Barron (Change-Fine Arts) as chair of the overseeing commission. 

All Line Item vetoes (LI #1-#9) of SSB 2023-1115 — the Funding for Fiscal Year 2024-2025 Activity and Service Fee Budget — were sustained, so the budget line items' vetoes will be remanded back to the Budget & Appropriations Committee.

SSB 2023-1064 — Graduate and Professional Student Summer Vacancy Requirements — had its veto overridden by the Senate. It was vetoed over the summer by Student Body President Olivia Green for appearing to violate Article II, Section 3 of the UF Constitution. 

The bill seeks to alleviate the Summer enrollment requirement for all graduate and professional students as long as they enroll for the following Fall semester — the overridden veto means it moves forward to the vice president of student life for her veto period.

‘Being a woman in politics’

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Majority Party Leader Simone Liang (Change-CLAS)  presented an emotional speech about the hardships of being a woman in politics. 

The speech touched on several issues about being shut out of conversations, being constantly belittled and never being taken seriously as a woman. 

“Being a woman in politics is feeling rage all of the damn time,” Liang said. “But being unable to express it because people will call you emotional, unstable, ungrateful or unprofessional.”

Liang said being a woman in politics is also making mistakes just like any other person, sometimes failing as a friend or not showing up when others need her to because at the end of the day she’s still a human being.

“Being a woman in politics is negotiating and writing a contract while experiencing the most debilitating period cramps,” Liang said. “Being a woman in politics is wondering how Nancy Pelosi put up with this bullsh*t for 35 years.” 

“Being a woman in politics is being so smart and having the ability to go anywhere you want in life,” Liang said. “But still feeling like you have to subscribe to a racist and sexist political machine to get into a law school because they’ll never admit how intelligent and capable you are.” 

Contact Vivienne Serret at vserret@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @vivienneserret.

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Vivienne Serret

Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, writing as a columnist for Summer 2024. She previously reported for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and was managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.


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