Student Body presidential candidate: Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

While the SG Senate Adviser isn't sure if he agrees that there should be an impeachment body hearing, students are taking action outside the Senate chamber and petitioning for Student Body President Michael Murphy's removal. 

The day after the judiciary committee unanimously failed the resolution, UF student Alfredo Ortiz created a Facebook event encouraging students to sign a petition today and Tuesday on Turlington Plaza for Student Body President Micahel Murphy’s removal.

Ortiz, a 19-year-old UF philosophy sophomore, said 500 students must sign the petition for it to be valid, per the SG 300 legislation codes, to show SG that students want Murphy removed. He said this is a recall referendum, which allows people to remove an elected official through voting within 60 days of its initiation. 

“Florida [state] law allows for Student Government officials to be removed from office by a majority vote of the students,” the Facebook event said. 

Ortiz said he and five other students — Mark Merwitzer, Nik Bindi, Dmitry Podobreev, William Zelin and Branden Reis — formed a committee to create this event because they didn’t agree with neither the resolution nor its failure. 

Emails released on Oct. 30 showed a conversation between Murphy and a President Donald Trump re-election campaign official about bringing Trump Jr. to campus Oct. 10. A week later, students demanded Murphy’s resignation at a Senate meeting. Two weeks after the emails were released, one of the authors hand-delivered Murphy the impeachment resolution.

Former SG Senate adviser James Tyger emailed Ben Lima, Inspire party leader and a co-author of the impeachment resolution, saying he wasn’t sure if he agreed with Lima’s interpretation of the Student Body constitution requiring Senate President Emily Dunson to hold an impeachment body hearing. 

Tyger suggested that if Lima thinks SG laws are ambiguous, then he should appeal to the SG Supreme Court. The Supreme Court members were appointed by Murphy and confirmed by the Senate in Summer. Their term lasts from Fall 2019 to Spring 2020. 

The resolution failed at the judiciary committee meeting on Thursday. However, resolution authors like Lima insist that the impeachment resolution shouldn’t have gone through the judiciary committee at all and instead should have gone directly to the impeachment body committee.

Lima said the resolution authors are more focused on getting Dunson to schedule an impeachment body hearing than appealing to the Supreme Court.  

The authors of the resolution — Lima, Claudia Tio, Matthew Diaz, Colin Solomon and Zachariah Chou — raised points of contention online after SG judiciary chairman Branden Pearson emailed Lima Wednesday that the judiciary committee would discuss the resolution because the authors didn’t believe the meeting was valid. 

Pearson wrote in an email that the impeachment body won’t hear this resolution due to his committee’s decision.   

Ortiz said he agrees with the judiciary committee on its “factual inaccuracies.” The committee is accusing Murphy of misfeasance instead of “malfeasance.” 

Murphy is still the Student Body president and will continue his term until the SG Spring 2020 elections unless appeals are successful.

“We want to make the activist groups who call for Michael Murphy’s resignation have a direct say in how he should be removed from office and why,” Ortiz said.

Correction: SG Senate Adviser James Tyger never disclosed whether he agreed with judiciary committee's decision to fail the resolution to impeach Michael Murphy. The Alligator reported differently.