Two weeks after winning an unopposed election, the University of Florida’s Student Body President-Elect is now in the national spotlight for his arrest over spring break.
William Smith Meyers, 22, was arrested in Key West, Florida early on March 7 after knocking over motorcycles while drunk, causing some damage to the motorcycles. According to the police report, Meyers knocked over the motorcycles, which were not his, after he couldn’t get them to start.
The report says Meyers was so intoxicated, he didn’t remember coming to Key West for spring break. Key West Police released the body camera footage of officers responding to the incident Monday.
Police arrested Meyers and charged him with criminal mischief. He was not arrested on an alcohol-related charge. He was later released that afternoon on a $328 bond.
Meyers released a statement to The Alligator Sunday saying that he “is called to a higher standard.”
“Though imperfect and human, the office I was elected to calls me to be an example to all those I represent,” Meyers said in the statement. “I failed in doing this and offer my sincere apologies to everyone affected by my actions and to all Gators for representing UF in such a negative light.”
Meyers also made clear that he does not plan to resign because of the incident in Key West.
“I remain committed to good character and will work to prove it throughout my term,” Meyers said.
UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes declined to comment on the incident, however she did state that Meyers’ status as a student has remained the same. Generally, misdemeanor-type offenses do not result in suspension or other enrollment penalties, she said.
As students return from spring break, criticism of Meyers’ arrest is growing.
Sabrina Philipp, who began the Not My System movement protesting student government in February 2016, said that Meyers must resign from the position.
“He will never be taken seriously,” Philipp said. “To have the student body president-elect represent 52,000 students and their $21-million budget in such a catastrophic, devastating way is just shameful.”
Meanwhile, there is a protest planned on Tuesday in Turlington Plaza to call for Meyers to resign. Anthony Rojas, 21, says that Meyers should be a role model for students on campus.
“People in student government should be held to the highest standard, and I feel like when they aren’t met, action has to take place,” Rojas said.
The protest is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m in Turlington Plaza before a walk-over to the Dean of Students Office.