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. 

Senators elected into UF Student Government two weeks ago still can’t start their new jobs.

SG Senate met Tuesday night to send off its retiring senators and welcome newly-elected senators into their seats. Senators said their goodbyes, which quickly turned into attacks on SG, and students spoke on Donald Trump Jr.’s speech at UF Thursday during public comment. 

But new senators were never seated. 

After rules and ethics committee chair Abigail Morris took role, Senate President Libby Shaw said Senate couldn’t vote on resolutions or certify the Fall 2019 SG election results because it didn’t meet its required quorum of 51. Shaw and Senate pro-tempore Emily Dunson didn’t respond to emails requesting to comment on why 16 senators weren’t present.

“Quorum has not been established because we only have 34 senators present,” Shaw said. “We can’t vote on anything.” 

One resolution set to be voted on was the “Resolution Condemning the Use of Students’ Activity and Service Fees to Host Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle at the University of Florida.” 

Anton Kernohan, a 20-year-old UF political science sophomore and #CHOMPTRUMP protest organizer, listed demands from the resolution that weren’t voted on, including: 

  • The reapportionment of $50,000 to fund student organizations.
  • Increased Counseling and Wellness Center availability to students who may feel unsafe.
  • Requiring diverse speakers at UF from ACCENT Speakers Bureau.
  • Public apologies and resignations from Student Body President Michael Murphy, Student Body Treasurer Santiago Gutierrez and ACCENT Chair Henry Fair. 

“To directly address the individuals in the room, I will say you have to opportunity to stand on the right side of history,” Kernohan said. 

Kernohan said if the demands aren’t met by Thursday, there will be a protest outside University Auditorium. 

Inspire Caucus Leader Ben Lima said while the Senate didn’t meet quorum, the SG Constitution doesn’t explicitly state that quorum must be met to confirm seats.  The constitution states the student Senate shall validate the election results in the next regularly scheduled Senate meeting, which didn’t occur.  

The SG Rules and Procedures’ rule 18  states the constitution supersedes the Rules and Procedures and Student Body Statutes. 

“Senate leadership violated the Student Body constitution tonight by not validating election results,” Lima said.    

As the Senate meeting ended, newly elected Inspire Sen. Colin Solomon said SG leadership isn’t doing its job and is trying to take seats away from new senators. 

“The fact that these people are elected and they don’t have the decency to show up...it’s disgraceful,” he said.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the required Senate quorum is 51. The Alligator previously reported differently.