Student Government SG Generic

The cancellation of a UF Student Senate meeting left the Reitz Union’s name unchanged — for now.

Senate was canceled last week due to a room reservation error, which prevented at least six referendums and a constitutional amendment to be considered for the Spring ballot, said Majority Party Leader Cooper Brown.

One of the referendums, which was up for consideration last Tuesday, was to rename the Reitz Union after Virgil D. Hawkins, a black man who helped desegregate UF, said Michael Dormeus (Inspire, District D).

Brown said he will send a request to the UF Supreme Court to clarify if deadlines can be extended for amendments and referendums if Senate is canceled unexpectedly in the future.

“I hope the Supreme Court provides a clear answer to the question we petitioned them for,” Brown said.

UF denied law school admission to Hawkins because of his skin color, Dormeus said. The name change would bring greater awareness to Hawkins’ legacy.

“By renaming the Reitz we will honor the people who fought to get us where we are today,” Dormeus said.

Minority Party Leader Felipe Gatos said the Inspire caucus will try to add the referendum question on the ballot this Fall, and, if not, next Spring.

Dormeus said Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, which was celebrated the day before last week’s cancellation, should not be confined to one day of social media posts.

“Words are whispers, actions are screams,” Dormeus said.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the effort to rename the Reitz Union is a referendum. The Alligator previously reported differently.

Hannah Beatty is a third-year journalism major and sociology minor from Jacksonville, Florida. She began at the Alligator in the fall of 2018 as a general assignment staff writer and now serves as the student government beat reporter.