SG Senate meeting appoints new senate president, reelects elections chief


It was a busy night in the chambers of the Student Government Senate Nov. 9, as Elections Chief swore in new senators, filled committee positions and the Senate debated and passed legislation.

Outgoing SG Senate President James Cima opened the meeting with brief remarks.

Cima thanked the senators for making his time as Senate president special and said he appreciated their hard work.

Student Body President John Barnes then gave a farewell speech lauding Cima, whose term expired.

Barnes called Cima a good friend and praised his work ethic and commitment to the student body.

Senator and Budgets and Allocations Committee Chair Mack Volk was selected to replace Cima as the next Senate president.

Volk, who ran unopposed, said it was a “joy and honor” to be chosen.

Volk wants his tenure to mark a period of renewed commitment to serving the students of UNF, he said.

“Many people may feel that being a part of Student Government is just another resume producer … but to me, I think this is an opportunity to serve and give back to the students at UNF,” Volk said.

Twenty new senators were sworn in at the meeting, all of whom drew no opposition for the fall election, which precipitated the cancellation of the elections.

Richey was selected to retain her position as the Elections and Appointments Committee Chair, despite the controversy surrounding the canceled fall senate elections.

Sen. John Jordan was also up for the post. He promised to “keep elections smooth and organized” and “inform the students about the crucial work performed by Student Government.” Jordan also proposed using freebies like SG T-shirts to promote student involvement in future elections.

Richey touted her experience as elections chief and said one of her goals would be to promote SG and provide information to students about how to get involved, reasoning that greater information would cause increased participation.

“I really want to move forward,” she said. “I have some really awesome ideas on getting the issues out there.”

A vote of 23-10 retained Richey as elections chief.

The most dramatic contest of the evening came down to one single vote.

Sens. Kyle Nelson, Kyle Zaffron and Miguel Ortigao sought for the budget and allocations committee chair position, which was previously held by Volk.

The Budget and Allocations Committee determines how SG spends the discretionary funds of its more than $3 million budget.

After Zaffron was eliminated on the first ballot, Nelson came from behind to win the position with a 17-16 vote over Ortigao.

Nelson is also the co-captain of the Osprey lacrosse team.

He reassured senators that his SG duties would take precedence over the lacrosse team should a time conflict arise.

The Senate approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Otis Green that received Barnes’ endorsement.

The proposal asked the Senate to help fund “Compassion 2010,” a philanthropy awareness and entertainment event scheduled for February 2010.

The event will combine community service awareness — featuring faith-based and humanitarian groups — and entertainment, featuring speakers and music, Barnes said.

Switchfoot was mentioned as a band SG is pursuing.

After some senators raised concerns over the event’s price tag, the Senate amended the legislation, deleting funding for food and halving the security appropriation.

“Given the theme of the event … if we have five loaves and two fish, maybe we can pull it off,” Barnes said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, SG Attorney General Jonas Cummings congratulated the “reaffirmed” senators and made a passionate speech in support of their efforts.

Having a one-party Senate should not be seen as a detrimental, but as a testament to SG’s commitment to the student body, Cummings said.

“There’s a lot been made about having a one-party Senate — and I can say this because I’m a non-partisan — but rather than that detracting from the Senate, it actually adds to it,” Cummings said.

He cited SG’s three advertisements in the Spinnaker as SG’s attempt to engage the student body.

“This is my fourth year in school, and I have never seen a Student Government more committed to promoting competition,” Cummings said.

Cummings praised SG’s commitment to serving the students of UNF and wanted to reassure the Senate their efforts were appreciated.

“Don’t let anyone tell you or make you think to the contrary that you are not legitimate,” he said. “There were 20 seats, 14,000 undergraduate students [and] only 21 cared enough to apply. One didn’t meet the objective criteria of getting 150 signatures, OK? It’s that simple.”