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SG Senate approves six action items during final meeting of semester

Senators gathered to discuss a series of resolutions, bills and a course of action plan for conduct violations committed by senate president Ashria Daskundu during Tuesday’s senate meeting. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

The Student Government (SG) Senate met Tuesday night to approve six action items including two resolutions, two bills and a plan of action for a senate ethics investigation.

Concerns raised on the specificity of SG consolidated statute 706, Campaign Processes and Procedures, motivated the sponsors of the 706 Revision bill to change its text following a recent investigation into the execution of SG campaigning, according to senate president Ashria Daskundu. 

Statute 706 will be amended to approve the use of Bulls Media for campaigning and delineate the difference between level two and level three violations, with level three resulting in immediate disqualification from a race, according to the SG consolidated statutes.

Under the addition of 706.2.1.2, physical campaign materials will not be allowed to have links or QR codes that lead to a voting service. Changes to the statute — which passed with 22 votes in approval, three votes in disagreement and one abstention — will not take place until the next legislative term, according to Daskundu.

A representative of the Senate Ethics Committee presented an ethics investigation against Daskundu for discussion among the senators. The committee found Daskundu to be non-compliant with ethics clauses 202.1, and 5.6.2, outlining behaviors expected of SG representatives during senate meetings.

An assessment of Daskundu’s behavior was conducted after graduate student Andrew Davis submitted an investigation request on March 27. He claimed the president broke her duties and oaths as a representative of SG during a Feb. 27 senate meeting in which the Transgender Student’s Medical Privacy Resolution was discussed. 

Davis said Daskundu violated SG behavioral standards by being biased toward the authors of the resolution  and close to crying during discussion, leaving the senate chambers during voting procedure to discuss and formulate a plan with the authors and not informing the senate of what was discussed during the conversation. 

In response, the senate approved a course of action plan including required conflict management training with the senate president and designating a parliamentarian to be a mediator with guests with 22 votes in approval, one vote in disagreement and two abstentions. 

Student Umulkheir Haji introduced the first resolution, Thrift A Bull, for discussion among representatives. The plan — which was passed with 21 votes in approval, two in disagreement and no abstentions — approved a $5,000 budget for the implementation of a student-run thrift store on the Tampa campus.

Those on campus would be able to donate or sell gently used housing items either in-person or through an online format, according to Haji. She said organizers expect that around four to five employees will be needed to operate the thrift store, which will be active from Wednesday to Saturday and take around three months to set up. 

Cole Olson, president of the Prevent Overdose club, presented the Fentanyl Test Strip Resolution. Passing with 23 votes in approval, two in disagreement and two in abstention, the resolution will require the Senate to work alongside student governments at other Florida universities to support House Bill (HB) 165, or Controlled Substance Testing.

HB 165 revises the definition of drug paraphernalia to exclude certain narcotic drug testing products, under which fentanyl testing strips have historically qualified, according to Olson. By requiring university leadership to support HB 165, he said he hopes utilizing fentanyl testing strips as a harm reduction technique will prevent drug overdoses as people will no longer be incentivized to illegally obtain the drug.  

Changes to the current structure of the Marshall Student Center (MSC) advisory board is necessary given that the MSC advisory board has greatly expanded from its original structure, or a small committee established to help the MSC grow, according to policy committee chair Kayla Domres. 

Responsibility over the MSC advisory board will be transferred from SG to MSC director Matt Marshall and its operational staff under the Removal of Statute 604 bill, which passed with 23 votes in approval, no votes in disagreement and one abstention.