Colin Solomon was set to fill the vacant seat of UF Student Government District D Senator Mackintosh Joachim for the summer up until last week when his position was petitioned.
Following SG procedure, Joachim chose the 19-year-old UF criminology sophomore to fill in for him on Senate while he would be away for the summer. Solomon, an independent party member, was approved by the Senate on April 23.
Three weeks later, on May 14, Senate President Libby Shaw sent an email to the senators stating their replacements would be nullified. Shaw cited Article III, Section IV of the Student Body constitution, which says all Senate replacements must be approved on May 1.
Since they were approved before May 1, Solomon and more than 30 other replacement senators are in danger of losing their positions.
“These actions have come from a place of assumed power where it’s not stated they have such power,” Solomon said. “The right of Senator Joachim to appoint me has been taken from him.”
Shaw argues that since these replacements were not made following the constitution’s rules, they won’t be recognized by the Senate, Shaw wrote in an email.
“The only way student senators have any influence over their summer replacements, according to Article III, Section IV of the constitution, is by appointing and confirming their replacements on May 1,” Shaw said.
Shaw said the new replacements would be chosen during a meeting with the Senate Executive Committee and the Replacement and Agenda Committee, which will be Thursday at 2 p.m.
Any previously chosen replacements were encouraged to reapply for their position, she said. Applications for vacant Senate seats are on SG’s website.
Senate Minority Leader, Ashley Grabowski, a 23-year-old UF political communication master’s student, has been vocal about her disagreement with Shaw’s decision.
Grabowski has been meeting with Senate replacements whose positions are in question, she said. She has also met with James Tyger, the SG advisor, to decide what the best course of action is.
“The constitution does say that they should be confirmed on May 1,” Grabowski said. “However, the Senate President doesn’t have the right to unilaterally undo something that’s done by a majority of the Student Senate.”
Grabowski said she worries this could set a dangerous precedent that would allow the Senate president to undo any decisions that have been made.
As for Joachim’s replacement Solomon, he plans to reapply, but he is skeptical about how fair the whole process will be.
“I wish I had full faith and confidence that the Student Body Government, sitting me as an independent, not Impact or Inspire, would appoint me again to that position,” he said.