Senate appoints new committee chairs, swears in newly elected senators

Greg Parlier

By Greg Parlier

The senate was busy on the evening of Nov. 7 — they elected three cabinet positions, appointed four senators and elected an associate justice, in addition to the swearing-in ceremonies of 20 recently internally elected senators.

In the closest race of the evening, Senator Charles Galanti became the chair of the Budget and Allocations Committee in a run-off with Senator Mitch Haley by a vote of 22-16. The vote went to a run-off after no one won the majority in the initial vote between the four senators up for the position.

“I’ve wanted this position for 18 months, since I became a senator,” Galanti said.

Galanti, a psychology senior and the former vice chair of the Budget and Allocations Committee, replace current interim treasurer Billy Namen as chair.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill, but we’re going to get working, and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity,” he said.

Senate president Carlo Fassi wasn’t surprised at the close race for budget and allocations chair, considering the candidates.

“Every individual nominated tonight is qualified to fill the positions,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, newly appointed senator Joel Versace ran unopposed for the Elections and Appointments committee chair.

Versace left the senate a year ago, but couldn’t stay away from student government for long.

“It really is the best way to spend your time here, and it’s important to be involved as a student,” he said. “It’s nice to be back.”

Work ethic, drive, ambition and passion were key descriptors throughout the evening for all candidates, and Versace was no different. However, the lack of competition for the Elections and Appointments chair and Parliamentarian positions generated some concern from the senate president.

“However, knowing the full job responsibility of an elections and appointments committee chairperson in the spring semester, it doesn’t surprise me,” Fassi said.

Versace will oversee the more popular spring elections, which include the election of a new student government president.

Also Nov. 7, senator Joseph Turner won the Parliamentarian position by acclimation. Maria Bastos became the ninth member of the judicial branch with her unanimous election for associate justice.

New Senators

Three other students joined Versace as newly appointed senators Nov. 7, including two with impressive resumes.

Laudelino Garcia, a political science junior transfer student from Miami Dade College, was unanimously confirmed after an impressive, Barack Obama-like speech.

Theology transfer student Michelle Staton joined Garcia in senate after wowing the senators with her experience lobbying for funding for aid in Uganda and experience in Washington. Staton energetically said making UNF a smoke-free campus would be her priority as a senator.

Political science sophomore Corey Amira was appointed in a somewhat less convincing fashion, with five votes against him after he wasn’t able to explain Titles VI and VIII accurately.

Fassi seemed unconcerned with Amira’s lack of comprehensive knowledge of the constitution, comfortable that all new senators will know their constitution backward and forward by the time they leave the senate.

“I once didn’t know what titles VI and VIII were,” he said.

Overall, Fassi is exited to have the four new senators in the chambers, comparing their appointment to a first round draft.

Of the 20 senators internally elected at the senate meeting two weeks prior, only 18 showed up to be sworn in Nov. 7. Senator Kyle Kvies is on three weeks leave for a school-related project, and couldn’t be present. New elect Louisa Velten was a no-show. Fassi is unsure what steps will be taken in regards to Velten’s absence.