SG silent about no opportunity for public questions and lack of candidate attendance at debate

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

[Updated Nov. 4: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported that Student Government would begin their Spring 2023 semester with 18 senators total. A total of 19 senators are running in the Fall 2022 election. Spinnaker takes errors seriously and apologizes for the error. ]

Student Government (SG) held its senator debate last Tuesday, an event which no non-SG members attended and only half the candidates set to become senators later this semester showed. 

Advertised as a Senator Forum (originally called a Senator Debate) where the public could “ask questions” about campus issues, initiatives and other topics, SG never opened the floor for such questions to be asked. 

Candidates sit behind a black table in front of rows of empty chairs
Nine of the 19 total candidates in the Fall 2022 election met in the Student Union Ballrooms to participate in the senator debate on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. (Mallory Pace)

The morning after the debate, Oct. 26, Spinnaker requested a comment from SG about why there was no opportunity for members of the public, including Spinnaker, to ask candidates questions. Spinnaker also requested a comprehensive list of which candidates were in attendance for the event and which were not. 

As of the publishing of this article, Spinnaker has received no response. 

Spinnaker has already followed up on the original request with no word on whether there is a statement in the works or not. 

SG will hold its usual Senate meeting on Friday at 1 p.m. where SB-22F-3645 — otherwise known as “Validation of Acclamation of Fall 2022 Senatorial Candidates” — is on the agenda

Agenda screenshot
A screenshot of Student Government’s agenda for Friday, Nov. 4.

After SB-22F-3645 is passed, the 19 candidates will be sworn into the Senate later this semester. 

This is the third semester in a row that SG has had an uncontested election. 

In the Spring 2022 semester, current Student Body President Nathaniel Rodefer and current Student Body Vice President Joshua Murry were sworn into their roles after their opposition dropped out. An election was held, but with no one to run against, the pair won before ballots were cast. 

One semester prior, SG swore in 19 senatorial candidates early after the election was again deemed uncontested.

Going into the upcoming spring semester, the SG Senate will total 26 members while overseeing a $6.1 million projected budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Now, the UNF community is left to wonder whether this pattern will continue in the future.


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