The UF Student Senate will decide Tuesday whether it will ask the university to limit the use of single-use plastic straws on campus.
The UF Student Government Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support asking students to reconsider using single-use plastic straws.
The resolution — a written statement with no legislative weight — was unanimously approved by the UF Student Government Senate judiciary committee Sunday night and will be taken to a vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
All dining locations except for Gator Corner Dining Center, The Fresh Food Company and Arredondo Cafe offer plastic straws, said Zachary Amrose, the resolution’s author.
Amrose said the resolution doesn’t call on the university to ban plastic straws outright, just to limit the availability of plastic straws, or popularize substitutes like paper drinking straws.
“Plastic straws are kind of an unnecessary feature of the modern world,” he said in the meeting.
Plastic drinking straws are among the top 10 most common items found in beach cleanups, according to the resolution. Cities across the United States have banned or limited straws including Fort Myers and Miami Beach in Florida, according to the New York Times.
A petition to be sent to UF President Kent Fuchs asks that straws be banned from campus. The petition has 2,600 signatures, according to the resolution.
The committee also passed the Diversity Empowerment Act, which would have the Student Government Diversity and Programming Committee serve under the leadership of the Student Body president, vice president and treasurer. The purpose of the committee is to foster more diversity campus.
This change was promised by Impact Party during campaigning in the 2018 election to revitalize the committee under new leadership, according to Alligator archives.
“We really felt the need with our ticket, we really wanted diversity inclusion to be at the forefront of what we were doing,” former Impact Party President Omarley Spence said. “We wanted to make sure it was part of our platform too.”
The act added the Student Body vice president to the committee’s members.
Two bills were unanimously failed at the committee meeting. One bill wanted to increase the number of allowed absences for graduate senators from three to five combined absences because of their higher course loads and outside involvement.
During the meeting, Sen. Libby Shaw (Impact, Journalism) questioned why graduate senators deserve more absences than other senators.
“When they run to be a senator, they know exactly how many absences they’re allowed, so they shouldn’t run to be a senator if they can’t be at the Senate meetings,” Shaw said.
The committee also agreed it would be difficult to implement for undergraduate student senators who take graduate courses or other students who have a large course load.
The Candidate Accountability Act was tabled last week but was unanimously failed Sunday. It would have updated the policies on what kind of excuses executive candidates could submit 24 hours before a debate and required the Supervisor of Elections to host a public forum if there is only one ticket, such as during the 2017 election.
The committee members couldn’t speak to the Supervisor of Elections before requiring the public forum and failed the bill.