UM News Briefs: Student Village, Joe Carollo and Zooey Zephyr

Photo credit: Roberta Macedo

Note from the news editors: UM News Briefs are a new segment from The Miami Hurricane. News briefs provide a weekly snapshot of life at the University of Miami, in Miami and sometimes around the state, country or world. Stay up to date with UM News Briefs.


The Student Village opens on the second floor of the UC

On Sept. 26, the new Student Village was opened in the Whitten University Center. The space has been under construction for the past two semesters and will house the LGBTQ+ Center, Veterans Resource Center, Graduate Students Association and more spaces of belonging for UM’s Black, Hispanic and Asian students.

At the opening ceremony, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia A. Whitely, University President Julio Frenk and Laurie Silvers, Chair of the Board of Trustees, made remarks about the remodeled space. Student Government leaders, Lauren Lennon, the 2022-2023 Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Jamie Williams-Smith, the 64th President, Niles Nisseem, the 65th President, also made remarks in anticipation of the ribbon cutting ceremony.


Miami Commissioner Carollo a no-show at his own trial

On Tuesday, Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo was a no-show in Miami federal courtroom 13-4 where he was being sued for millions over allegations that he used his office to try and destroy the businesses of two local property owners.

His attorney offered an excuse for his absence. Carollo, who up until Tuesday had appeared each day with his wife at his side, had an asthma attack and “went to see his doctor,” attorney Marc Sarnoff told District Court Judge Rodney Smith.

The judge repeatedly expressed his desire for Carollo to appear, but after several sidebar discussions, the judge sent jurors home and said court would resume Wednesday morning.

Carollo is being sued for $2.5 million and potential punitive damages by two of Miami’s largest commercial property owners, William Fuller and Martin Pinilla.

Including Carollo’s absence the trial has taken some unexpected turns. It was moved from Fort Lauderdale to Miami after just two days because of record-breaking rain and flooding in Broward County. Jurors have been offered bus rides each day to Miami.

Throughout the trial jurors have been warned by Judge Smith to not read or watch the news or discuss anything with friends or family. Jurors were given Thursday and Friday off and are expected to return next week.


Montana House votes to formally punish transgender lawmaker, Rep. Zooey Zephyr

Democratic Representative Zooey Zephyr was formally punished by the Republican dominated Montana House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Zephyr, who is transgender, has been blocked from speaking since last week. The block was a response to when she told supporters of a bill that would ban gender-affirming care that when they bowed their heads in prayer, she hoped they would see “blood on [their] hands.”

The formal punishment decided on Wednesday bans Zephyr from attending or speaking during floor sessions. She will only be able to vote remotely during the remaining days of the legislative session. It’s a lesser punishment than expulsion, which was on the table, according to House leadership.

On Monday, seven people were arrested during a demonstration in the House gallery in protest of Zephyr being blocked from speaking for three consecutive days.