Tampa Bay SDS statement regarding USF trying to intimidate student activists with false charges
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from Tampa Bay SDS.
On Tuesday, April 4th, one of our members, Lauren Pineiro, retroactively received student code of conduct violations relating to our protest on March 6th in which we were brutally attacked by University of South Florida police officers. This comes as two of our other members, who were previously charged, are having student code of conduct hearings. Pineiro is set to graduate at the end of this semester, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, but these conduct violations could put their degree in jeopardy. Additionally, the communication from USF states that the school intends to charge Pineiro with two misdemeanors and a felony, like the Tampa 4. It is clear that USF is trying to intimidate us by stacking our members with false charges in order to eliminate student protests on campus. After we successfully prevented a USF employee from being fired for supporting our protest, we can see the university becoming more desperate.
We have consistently asked to speak with administrators; however they all ignore us. Yet, they all, including President Rhea Law, continue to spread false narratives about us and support the police who brutally attacked students. We find all of the charges unlawful and in violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. By attacking us, USF and Rhea Law firmly plant themselves on the same side as Governor DeSantis, who seeks to completely gut tenure, gender studies, and African American studies. We are not at all intimidated by the university’s attempts to silence us, and we will continue to organize on campus in support of student’s rights, diversity, and increased Black enrollment at USF.
Defending diversity is not a crime!
Drop the charges on the Tampa 4!