sg meeting

Ben Lima, a 21-year-old political science senior and Inspire Party senator-elect for District D, speaks out against the use of student activities and service fees funds to host Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle as Accent speakers at a Student Government meeting Tuesday night. 

Two UF Student Government Senate meetings in a row were canceled, and senators are unsure if this is allowed under the Student Body constitution.

SG Senate President Emily Dunson canceled Senate meetings two weeks in a row, which may prevent the Senate from meeting again this semester to discuss the resolution to impeach Student Body President Michael Murphy. 

Dunson emailed senators that the last Senate meeting will be Dec. 3. The Student Body constitution says the Senate will have the power to “determine the time and place of its meetings, provided that it meets once every two school weeks.” 

Dunson’s email described this week as a holiday week, although classes are still scheduled for today and Tuesday. The constitution doesn’t specify holiday exceptions.

Last Fall, the Tuesday meeting on Thanksgiving week was canceled as well. 

“After reviewing our constitution and codes and sentiments from Senators in all parties about meeting during the holiday week, our next Senate meeting will be December 3,” the email said. 

Ben Lima, a co-author of the impeachment resolution and Inspire Party leader, accused Dunson of avoiding accountability because of concern of outcry during public comment. This outcry would be based on her decision to refer the impeachment resolution to the judiciary committee and its failure of the resolution. 

The Alligator has confirmed that some national outlets are interested in covering the impeachment in Gainesville. On Thursday, the New York Times published an op-ed by Inspire Sen. Zachariah Chou. The Alligator’s original coverage on the emails was picked up by several national news outlets, including the New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.  

“She knows national press outlets would have been coming to the Senate meeting and reporting on how what she did was wrong,” Lima said. “This is what happens when personal biases get in the way of serving the Student Body.”

Emily Dunson did not respond to The Alligator’s calls, texts and emails.  

Emails released on Oct. 30 showed Murphy and a President Donald Trump reelection campaign official talking about about bringing Trump Jr. to campus Oct. 10. A week later, students demanded Murphy’s resignation at a Senate meeting. Two weeks after the emails were released, an author hand-delivered Murphy the impeachment resolution. 

Lately, both sides of the aisle in the Senate have interpreted SG laws differently. Dunson and Judiciary Committee Chairman Branden Pearson said the SG legislation code 306.3 allowed Dunson to assign the impeachment resolution to a committee, but Lima said the constitution requires the impeachment body to hold a hearing regardless. 

Murphy is still the Student Body president and will continue his term until the SG Spring 2020 elections unless appeals are successful. 

Lima said that because SG Supreme Court justices were Impact-appointed, they will interpret the rules in a way that favors Murphy. 

The SG Supreme Court would have final say on the interpretation of the laws if a case were brought before them.