Senators criticized by leaders

fter encountering issues with lack of participation, communication and punctuality, two senators voiced their opinions at Monday’s senate meeting on how the senate can become more efficient.

The meeting, which started roughly 20 minutes late and lasted for approximately two hours, ran smoothly from one point to another with the exception of a disagreement over the last meeting’s minutes.

But during the committee reports section of the meeting, Sen. Monique Gillum, 19, ended her report by asking each senator to ponder on why they became senators.

Those remarks came after she spoke of a recent Student Government Association function where many senators signed up for the function, but only one person, besides her, showed up on time.

Shortly after, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ebony Ivory, 20, stood before the senate and stated her and Senate President Keon Hardemon’s frustration with some of the waning participation during senate meetings.

“We’re just a little concerned,” Ivory, a junior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale said.

One of the issues Ivory said concerned her and Hardemon was the time the meetings start each week.

“Senate meetings are supposed to start at 6 p.m.,” Ivory said, noting that no senate meeting this semester has actually started on time.

Gillum, a sophomore political science student from Gainesville, said the comments she made in the meeting were not meant to insult anyone. She only wanted to remind the senators of their duties as SGA officials.

“I just wanted to be understood that we are here for the students,” the Gainesville native said.

She said there is a problem, “if you are taking more from the senate than you are adding.”

Acknowledging the numerous events SGA throws on campus, Gillum said many students still do not know many of the senators. She said students should know the senators in and out of SGA.

“The reality is that we have a lot of influence on campus,” Gillum continued. “Many students don’t know who we are. We’re senators, but we’re students first.”

Just as Gillum believes the senators should make themselves known to the students, she also thinks that whenever someone in SGA has an event, the senators should attend.

“We should definitely have more representation,” the sophomore said. “When someone throws an event, we should be there.”

Ivory believes the solution to this problem is an easy one.

By starting the senate meetings on time, better communicating with each other and being more involved with the student body will help fix these problems inside SGA.

One of the biggest ways to help the senate function more efficiently, Ivory said, is to write and pass more bills.

“Now that the majority of them (confirmations) are complete, we can start focusing on more bills,” Ivory said in reference to past senate meetings, some of which have lasted more than five hours.

Ivory said that students can serve as watchdogs if necessary.

“If students come to an event and don’t see someone they voted in, they should hold us more accountable.”

Senior Sen. Torey Alston also acknowledges that the senate could do its job better.

He believes that Ivory made her comments at the meeting to help the senate and not to be rude.

“I definitely stand by our senate pro-temp,” Alston, 21, a business administration student from Fort Lauderdale said.

“I agree it (the senate) can do more. There is a lot of potential in the senate and she is trying to tap that.”

Contact Brandon D. Oliver at