“Ceasefire Now!” dead in committee, remains contentious among student body

Students against "Ceasefire Now!" gathered in the senate chamber. | Elise Gregg, PantherNOW

Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief

The student government has once again become embroiled in controversy over the “Ceasefire Now!” resolution.

It was condemned by the Board of Trustees and ultimately did not reach the senate last semester as its proponents were demanding.

Now, it’s died in committee, with the Committee on Rules and Administration voting it down as of Jan. 22 — the only failed resolution among the four reviewed by the committee, according to Senator Dale Brochinsky.

There’s the possibility it’ll be discharged from the committee to the senate by a two-thirds vote from the senate, with CASE senator Daniel Salup-cid saying during the meeting that he would lead efforts to do so.

“If it’s going to be shut down, it should be shut down by good faith arguments,” said Salup-cid during senate forum.

Students in favor of the “Ceasefire Now!” resolution gathered on the other side of the room. | Elise Gregg, PantherNOW

Before the discussion began on “Ceasefire Now!” Grace Sancruzado, third-year political science student, was voted in as an election board member and Natalie Martinez, a political science and international relations senior, was confirmed as executive administrator.

The first reading of the “Standardized Housing Safety Procedures Act”, SR 04 008, was also added to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting by Senator Alex Stone.

“This bill has been a long time in the making,” said Stone, adding that Housing Director Andrew Naylor and FIU Police Chief Alexander Casas were sponsors.

Citing thousands of criminal incidents reported since 2020 on college campuses across the nation, the resolution aims to establish a more integrated relationship between Housing and FIUPD to standardize safety procedures between the two departments.

“In the event of an incident requiring the response of FIUPD, at least one officer shall liaise with designated housing staff on site,” Stone said during the reading.

The resolution would also add an emergency button in the common area and front desk area of every new dorm directly connecting to the FIU PD emergency phone number. This resolution would also include methods of preventing false alarms, like double-tap buttons.

Magnets would also be placed on dorm fridges with an image of the housing facility with “escape routes and all their alternative routes for informational purposes.”

The proposed project would be funded by FIUPD and Housing.

That Monday afternoon, the senate chamber was packed with students, just as it had been only a short time ago in the fall. This time, students both for and against the resolution packed either side of the room, far outnumbering senators in the chambers. 

Earlier in the day, Young Democratic Socialists of America at FIU posted about the failure of the resolution to make it through the committee, calling the move by senators “brazenly undemocratic and cowardly.” 

Pride Student Union, a bureau of SGA, reposted it — a move that was contentious, with some members of SGA calling it “inappropriate” as it specifically called out senators by name.

Public forum was limited to 15 speakers, with two minutes and 30 seconds for each person — all the the speaker slots but one were taken by people discussing “Ceasefire Now!”

“FIU students have made it clear they are appalled by the slaughter in Gaza and want to take a stand for Palestinian liberation,” said YDSA member Maria Franzblau.

All fifteen speaking slots were quickly and easily filled during the meeting.

“It’s been a month since the last meeting — where’s SGA? Where’s YDSA?” asked Ishmael Columna, member of Hillel and former SGA senator. “Where are they when we request them?”

“Come to talk to us.”

The resolution is largely symbolic, with students in support of it considering it a crucial step in FIU signaling support for Palestine as well as Middle Eastern students at the university, and those against it considering it extreme in its condemnation of Israel as perpetrating genocide against Palestinians.

According to members of YDSA, nearly 700 students have signed a petition calling on SGA to pass the resolution.

“I cannot believe we are still doing this,” said FIU Law student Noah Feinberg during public forum. “[SGA] is not about solving or trying to solve some complex geopolitical issue that has escaped even the best minds of our generation.”

“This isn’t a metaphysical debate: the atrocities committed against 24,000 Palestinians so far, are very real,” said YDSA president Oscar Alvarez.

The issue is certainly not with apathy from either side, with student speakers from both camps promising to continue speaking in senate until the issue is resolved.

According to CASE senator Daniel Salup-cid, the resolution failed in committee because of a lack of discussion and a rejection of the legislation based on an interpretation of the SGA constitution.

“[The rejection was based on] section 2.021…stating we can’t go against what’s established by the federal or Florida government or university system,” said Salup-cid. “That’s for binding agreements.”

“It’s disheartening, in my opinion, that this interpretation [was used] to put down this bill. I just don’t buy it.”

Brochinsky defended the move in senate as simply being a matter of procedure, but refused to comment for PantherNOW, saying that reporters could get all the necessary information from committee minutes.

As of publication, those minutes have not been posted.

With a possible discharge to the senate, “Ceasefire Now!” may still have a future with student government.

“My recommendation to the sponsors would be to meet with those who are on the other side of this issue and see if there’s a way they can come together and find some common ground,” said SGA president Alexander Sutton in an interview with PantherNOW.

“Write a resolution that represents the entirety of the student body — I think you would have a much better chance of passing in the Senate.”

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