South Florida students oppose whitewashing of campus, demand affirmative action
Tampa, FL – On Dec. 3, a dozen University of South Florida students gave out hundreds of flyers and dropped a banner in support of affirmative action for African American and Latino students. As part of the National Day to Demand Affirmative Action called by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), chapters held events calling for increased African American enrollment, a defense of affirmative action and an end to racist admissions policies.
On Dec. 9, the Supreme Court will begin hearing Fischer vs. University of Texas-Austin, a case in which a white woman declared that affirmative action for Black and Latino students is unjust and should be ended. In the Bakke vs. University of California case of 1978, the Supreme Court upheld affirmative action, but ended the quota system for advancing equality.
Even after affirmative action policies were upheld, state governments and universities began working to roll them back. Eight states so far, including Florida, have banned affirmative action. Students believe that there is a good chance that the Supreme Court will overturn affirmative action this time, so SDS is mobilizing.
Danya Zituni of Tampa Bay SDS explained, “In 1999, Governor Jeb Bush banned affirmative action in public universities throughout Florida with the One Florida plan. This led to dramatic decreases in Black enrollment across the state. For example, even though Black residents are 20% of the Florida population, Black enrollment at the University of Florida and Florida State University is only at 6% and 7% . If the Supreme Court rules against affirmative action, this will hurt Black enrollment across the entire country.”
Gage Lacharite of Tampa Bay SDS added to the analysis, “Banning affirmative action is one step. Legacy admission for the children of wealthy college alumni is another. And then there are racist testing requirements like the SATs, which are written for wealthy white students.”
Lacharite continued, “After all, university administrators only serve the interests of the highest bidder, and in the end, students lose. Students of all nationalities must unite to beat back campus whitewashing, because students of all nationalities benefit from having more Black and Latino students attending their schools.”