The semester is starting and so is UF Student Government. Here is what happened this Fall and what to expect in Spring.
Following the lawsuit from the Young Americans for Freedom in the Summer, SG reallocated funding for the “Big Nine” student organizations, including the Hispanic Student Association, Black Student Union and Asian American Student Union, causing groups to fundraise and hold welcome events in smaller venues.
Gator Party emerged
Senate President Emily Dunson announced the new political party, Gator Party, and it campaigned as a new bipartisan student organization.
An Alligator investigation questioned Gator’s leadership roles when paperwork from Summer revealed inconsistencies about who officially was president and treasurer.
Blue lights on Fraternity Row
After failed attempts to legislatively bring blue lights — non-dial phones that contact emergency assistance — on Fraternity Row, frustrated students marched down the drive Sept. 17 in protest. University Police then responded with plans to install four blue lights on the row.
Inspire Party highlighted blue lights in their campaign.
Election and legislation
Inspire Party won the majority of Senate seats for the first time in history over Gator Party Sept. 25. However, the new senators were not confirmed until Oct. 15 after Gator Party filed a complaint that Inspire’s win was invalid and then attendance at a meeting stalled the confirmations.
Hundreds of students protested outside a paid Accent Speakers Bureau speech Oct. 10 featuring Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle. They were paid $50,000 to speak at UF in the Fall. The Alligator reported that protesters didn’t want their student fees used for the speech.
Student Body President Michael Murphy drew national attention and accusations of abuse of power after an Alligator investigation found he corresponded with a Trump campaign official about bringing Trump Jr. to campus. Inspire senators drafted a bill to impeach Murphy.
After multiple meeting cancellations and no impeachment hearing, the resolution to impeach Murphy was deemed illegitimate at a judiciary committee meeting Nov. 21.
New party announced at last Senate meeting
Fall independent candidate Alfredo Ortiz announced Dec. 3 that students plan to start a third political party called the Progressive Party.
Inspire leader Ben Lima said the party will continue to pursue impeachment for Murphy and seek reparations from Dunson because she did not schedule an impeachment hearing.
The party aims to merge sexual assault resources to make them more streamlined for students, improve counseling accessibility at the Counseling & Wellness Center and establish online voting for SG elections.
Gator leader Gabbi Hernandez and Murphy did not respond to requests for comment.
Contact Chasity Maynard [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @chasitymaynard0.