Student Government: Committees discuss Student Government applications and Osprey Voice

Alan Vargas

The UNF Student Government Senate Committee meetings were held on Friday, June 15 in the John E. Sapp Conference Room. The Government Oversight, Constitution and Statutes, Budget and Allocations and University and Student Affairs committees each met throughout the day.

Chairman Patrick Healy called the GO Committee meeting to order and established a quorum to make changes to the Student Government Senate application. A number of changes were made to the wording of the application but two changes were made to make the process easier for potential candidates. The first change lowered the number of Student Government members that the candidate must meet with from seven to three. The change removed the requirement to meet with all of the committee chairs to just meeting with the Government Oversight chair.

The second change updated the essay prompt that candidates must write as part of their senate application. The previous prompt had asked a candidate to explain how their involvement would benefit the University and asked for specific initiatives the candidate would want to pursue. The Committee considered the prompt to be too difficult for new students and decided to change it to ask candidates to explain why they want to join Student Government and what skills they bring.

Next, the Constitution and Statutes Committee met to discuss the Clarification of Remove Process bill. The Committee forwarded the bill to the full Senate for approval. Chairwoman Sonia Vargas established a quorum to debate the changes that the bill would have to the Constitutional statutes. The bill made minor grammatical and wording changes throughout Statutes 5, 7 and 11 of the UNF Student Government Constitution. The wording changes were to update the statutes to reflect the name change from “Supreme Court” to “Judicial Branch.”

The bill also made some procedural changes to the statutes. Specifically, it removed language that prevented executive staff members from impeachment and added language that gave the president power to dismiss executive agency staff for any reason. The proposed changes will also update the number of justices required in the primary court. Rather than requiring the deputy chief justice and four associate justices to sit on the court, the new language requires the deputy chief justice and “a majority of all active associate justices.”

The Budget & Allocation Committee was unable to establish a quorum and therefore their meeting was canceled.

Finally, the University and Student Affairs Committee met to discuss proposed legislation that would seek to end an informal agreement between Student Government and the Coastal Biology department. The agreement had given permission to the Coastal Biology Department to share half of a slab of concrete in Lot 18, through August 2018. The slab had originally been part of a $250,000 skate park that was paid for by Student and Activity fees.

According to Attorney General Cody Choi, the Coastal Biology Department currently shares the ‘old skate park’ with Ogier Gardens and uses its half of the slab for a wave pool. The success of the wave pool has caused the Coastal Biology Department to want to develop the wave pool into a more permanent concrete structure.

The site of the old skatepark. Photo by Alan Vargas.

The proposed bill would seek to end the informal agreement with the Coastal Biology Department in August and allow for a non-academic student group to use the space. According to Choi, there are a number of student groups who are interested in the space. Specifically, Ogier Gardens, student athletics and a proposal to ‘bring back the skatepark’ are being considered for space. The Committee amended some language in the bill and unanimously decided to forward the amended bill to the Senate floor.

The Committee also went through the process of creating the July Osprey Voice survey. The topic of July’s Osprey Voice will be to gather student opinions on the Oz Fest concert. Chief of Staff John Aloszka shared that the administration is planning to hold the concert in the fall semester instead of spring semester due to a large number of artists being unavailable during festival season. This change is not yet official. The Osprey Voice will also ask students to rank their favorite musical genres, suggest artists and ask if students prefer an indoor or outdoor venue.

The next Senate meeting will be on Friday, June 22.

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