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Tampa students rally against university budget cuts

By Eithne Silva

Tampa students protest budget cuts.

Tampa, FL – On October 5, members of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) gathered near the University of South Florida (USF) to protest the university’s recent budget cuts. University administration recently announced budget cuts amounting to $36.7 million, with instruction taking the bulk of the cuts and various student services comprising the rest.

Tampa Bay SDS protested these budget cuts, which would adversely affect students and workers on campus, with chants calling for USF administration to instead take significant pay cuts and to defund the university police department (USFPD). Speeches noted that USFPD is overfunded, as evidenced by recent purchases of armored cars and military-grade weapons, and that their presence on campus makes students feel intimidated rather than safe.

According to Zachary Rashas, a member of Tampa Bay SDS, “It only makes sense to take from USFPD’s budget first instead of staff and faculty salaries.”

The protest called attention to the university administration’s greed and chants demanded that they “put people over profits.” In response to USF President Steve Currall’s recent announcement that he and other top administrators will take pay cuts collectively amounting to $600,000, Rashas stated, “It isn’t enough. They need to take a more drastic pay cut.”

Tampa Bay SDS also demanded that no workers be laid off, and that workers forced to return to campus be provided with hazard pay.

Rashas said that the rally was successful in bringing more awareness to the budget cuts, and that Tampa Bay SDS will continue to fight back against these budget cuts in solidarity with other students, faculty and workers through their campaign “Chop From the Top and the Cops!”

#TampaFL #TampaBayStudentsForADemocraticSocietySDS