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FSU SDS holds press conference on political repression by administration

By Kat Kurzweil

FSU SDS press conference blasts repression directed at student activists. | Fight Back! News/staff

Tallahassee, FL – On Monday, December 4, Florida State University Students for a Democratic Society had a press conference to raise public awareness of the administration's attempts at silencing student protesters.

In recent months there has been rampant and brazen political repression for student activists across the country, especially in regard to the pro-Palestine movement.

Recently Florida State University Students for a Democratic Society (FSU SDS) had planned to go to FSU’s Board of Trustees meeting to give public comment on FSU’s role in aiding the genocide of Palestinians. However, when they showed up to the meeting, they were informed that public comment had been moved, even though they were assured days before that the time of public comment was not subject to change. It's safe to assume that this was not by accident and in fact, was an intentional maneuver to silence student activists.

Since SDS members were assured previously that public comment would be at 3 p.m., they briefly disrupted the board of trustees meeting at the very same time, admonishing President McCullough and FSU admin for current ties with Israel and for their blatant attempts at silencing the students. In response, FSU admin sent SDS a code of conduct letter telling them they have violated three rules and were required to attend a meeting to defend themselves. All the claims the administration have made are false.

At the press conference, representatives of FSU SDS prepared and read out a response to the alleged violations levied against them, stating, “We condemn the actions of FSUPD, which surveilled and harassed SDS members the week of our board of trustees action. The surveillance and harassment of FSUPD was a clear attempt to target student activists. This harassment is a violation of students' right to free speech.”

Chichi Amanze, a representative from the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, also spoke at the press conference. In her speech, Amanze condemned FSU for its hypocrisy, stating, “FSU is widely known for their exceptional criminal justice program. On their website they state it is one of the nation’s best at producing critical and independent thinkers. So when we, their students, apply their teachings, and take in stride their values for high presentation of critical and independent thoughts, why is that considered a disruption? Why is us speaking up against their hypocrisy in light of their rules and regulations a violation?”

FSU SDS ended the conference with a set of chants led by SDS President Joelle Nuñez with phrases such as “Down with DeSantis” and “Free Palestine.”

Over the next few weeks, SDS leadership will have a series of meetings with FSU admin over Zoom where they must testify their innocence in order to seek options for resolution. The only justifiable resolution would be for the violations to be discarded entirely. Any other outcome would be a direct infringement on First Amendment rights.

Read FSU SDS’s full statement on Fight Back!:

#TallahaseeFL #International #Palestine #AntiWar #StudentMovement