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UNF SG condemns Gov. Ron DeSantis in joint resolution, swears in new senators

The University of North Florida Student Government Senate passed a joint resolution Friday afternoon that condemns Gov. Ron DeSantis and reaffirms their commitment to diversity. Though there was opposition from some senators about the purpose of the resolution, it passed 9-0-3. 

The resolution is officially titled “JR-23F-3714: Resolution Condemning Florida’s Executive Overreach and Upholding Academic Freedom in Florida’s Higher Education Institutions.” Senate President Pro-Tempore Alex Mendoza-Hernandez authored it, and University and Student Affairs Committee Chair Lissie Morales sponsored it. 

Morales is also the president of Students for a Democratic Society, a student-run activist group at UNF, which has been vocal against DeSantis this year.

Inspired by a recent Osprey Voice, which is a monthly survey that collects student responses, Mendoza told the Senate that students wanted SG to take a more active role in standing up against, in their eyes, overreach by the governor. In summary, the resolution has three main points. 

The header of Student Government’s resolution, which was approved Friday.

“We condemn DeSantis’s actions towards the New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic University’s Board of Trustees and his disabling of Registered Student Organizations across the state,” the resolution stated. 

It reaffirms SG’s commitment to academic excellence, academic freedom, diversity and the free exchange of ideas without executive interference, according to the joint resolution’s text. Finally, the resolution calls upon DeSantis to “respect these principles in his actions towards higher education institutions in Florida.”

Most senators voted to pass the resolution, but three weren’t as supportive during the Senate’s discussion. Senators Alden Kliem, Kyriakos Faklis and William Schwocho voted against the resolution. 

View a full copy of the resolution’s draft, released by SG earlier this week, here.

Officiating the election

The winners of the fall 2023 election were also sworn in at the end of the Senate’s meeting. Results from the election were also officially finalized. In total, 20 senators won seats, but only those present at the meeting were sworn in on Friday. The rest are expected to be sworn in in coming meetings.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Carter Mudgett
Carter Mudgett, Reporter
Carter Mudgett is a University of North Florida student majoring in multimedia journalism. He was Spinnaker's editor-in-chief from August 2021 to December 2023. Carter led Spinnaker to be awarded a 2023 Online Pacemaker Award, and most recently placed second in the Society of Professional Journalists's Sunshine State Awards for "Best Coverage of LGBT Issues" in the college category. Backed by a passion for creative storytelling and accurate reporting, Carter typically covers education, gender and race issues.
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Justin Nedrow, Photographer
Justin Nedrow is a Jacksonville-based photographer who started volunteering for Spinnaker in 2020 and recently graduated in spring 2023 with a degree in sports management from the University of North Florida. Taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photos, Justin has helped Spinnaker reporters cover everything from sports games, protests, ordinary campus life and more. Photography is a passion project for Justin, one he started to meet new people and express himself without words.

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  • S

    SpuwhoDec 3, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Why is it the sole purpose of a university student is to object and protest it’s leadership? Why is diversity so valued everywhere else except where they go to school themselves. Aren’t ones leaders have a right to an opinion too? If Florida State schools are so bad, why do students keep coming?