The Student Government Association Senate passed a bill 27-1 on Friday that supported a statewide initiative to decrease spending cuts for Florida universities.
The bill was inspired by the Aim Higher Florida initiative, which is an attempt to raise awareness for funding for the Florida State University System. In 2012, the Florida Legislature cut $300 million from 11 public Florida universities, with the University of West Florida taking a $21.8 million reduction.
The bill was co-authored by SGA State and National Coordinator Andrew Hammond and Director of Governmental Affairs Brooke Mills. Mills said the passing of the bill makes UWF the third university in the state to officially support the initiative, after the University of North Florida and Florida International University.
“Every school is adopting it as their own and putting it together,” Mills said. “We are hoping that the joint effort of all the universities will be a really big impact to the legislature. We are all going to lobby it together.”
Since the senate passed the bill, it makes UWF’s support official.
“They are showing that the bill is the whole University of West Florida’s approval of this legislation and this initiative,” Mills said. “With their passage of the bill, they are showing that their constituents will agree with it as well.”
Also at the senate meeting, Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Bailey addressed the revisions to the university’s code of conduct. Bailey said that the changes to the code, which is reviewed every three years, made it a “kinder, gentler code” than what was previously enforced.
“I will tell you that the code is in pretty good shape,” Bailey said. “For those of you who have never been in trouble, you probably won’t know the difference.”
Some of the changes to the code include the expansion of simple definitions. Bailey said that the revised definition of a student now includes people who have been admitted to UWF but have yet to enroll. The definition for a university-sponsored event has also been revised so that any violation at an event sponsored by the university off-campus is still a university matter.
Bailey said that in the past the issue of UWF’s involvement in a student’s conduct off-campus depended on whether the incident was seen to be in poor representation of the university. In order for this to happen the incident had to be something that was egregious and demanding of the university’s attention. The revisions will change the university’s involvement in off-campus incidents.
“It is not an issue of double jeopardy for a student to be held accountable off-campus and on-campus,” Bailey said. “You have laws outside of UWF and you have rules and regulations at UWF. The two are different, and students can be held accountable at both venues.”
The revisions will go in front of the Board of Trustees for approval in March. According to code of conduct regulation, the revisions must be placed for public comment for 30 days before it can be approved.