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Sunday, June 23, 2024
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After over eight hours in the Senate Chambers, the UF SG Senate elected its new president and president pro-tempore Wednesday morning just before 4 a.m. following the Tuesday night meeting.

Sen. Monish Vijayaraghavan (Vision-Off Campus) and Sen. Blake Cox (Vision-Off Campus) were elected and sworn in to be the next Senate president and Senate president pro-tempore, respectively.

During his speech, Vijayaraghavan proposed to maintain an open line of communication with the chamber, to continue research and advocacy for mental health, to provide better advising to students and to fight for diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The biggest thing I promise is to be kind,” he said. “I take pride in having friends on both sides of the aisle. And that's because my parents taught me that being kind can take you to places where sometimes power can’t.”

Sen. Anjali Natarajan (Change-Engineering), who ran against Vijayaraghavan, spoke about forming an ad hoc to audit SG funds, forming an ad hoc for DEI initiatives, providing greater transparency to the student body and promoting committee seat equity.

“I've always been really kind to everyone in this chamber,” she said. “I've tried my best to reach out across the aisle, and I've tried to make everyone feel as welcome as possible.”

Cox, the newly elected Senate president pro-tempore, shared his hopes to bring back bipartisanship in the chamber, to advocate for the implementation of mental health days, to enforce a fishing spot on campus and to serve as a springboard for members of the chamber.

“I’d like to be a resource… I would like to work with everyone to lift their [responsibilities] up,” he said.

Sen. Isha Khan (Change-Honors Village), Cox’s opposition, discussed her plans to work alongside the Information & Communication Standing Committee to ensure transparency and outreach, to increase accessibility, to have all constituencies represented within committees and to depolarize the Senate.

“Communication is very key, especially [as] the Senate president pro-tempore,” she said. “Considering how much of an internal role that the pro-tempore has, I think it’s really necessary to increase communication.”

Tuesday’s double meeting ran for more than eight hours, adjourning at 3:58 a.m. The remaining Senate leadership positions will be filled during the upcoming meeting.

Senate will meet again March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Senate Chambers, found on the ground floor of the Reitz Union. Meetings are open to the public.

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Contact Annie Wang at awang@alligator.org. Follow her on X @wynwg.



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Annie Wang

Annie Wang is a first-year journalism major and a University General Assignment writer for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing reviews on Goodreads.


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