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University of Central Florida SDS statement on repression against Pro-Palestine political activism

By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from University of Central Florida Students for a Democratic Society.

On April 1 , UCF Students for a Democratic Society was informed that the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity was moving forward with charging one of its members with several violations of student conduct in addition to filing legal charges for criminal mischief, in response to pro-Palestine activism.

The charges only reference flyers being posted around the UCF campus containing pro-Palestine messages and advertising our organization’s weekly meetings. This compounded on a previous accusation on January 29, also in relation to these flyers.

UCF Students for a Democratic Society denies these accusations and condemns them as blatantly being politically motivated attacks on our membership. UCF’s Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (SCAI) office has been reluctant to communicate the status of these charges at all, only releasing information on the second set of conduct violations after already moving forward with criminal charges. 

 On April 17, a Preliminary Conference was held between SCAI and the charged student to discuss the nature of these violations. From the onset of the meeting, SCAI insisted that these violations are not about the content of the flyers, but over the fact they they were posted onto lamp posts, which SCAI claims is completely prohibited for everyone.

Yet, walking around UCF campus reveals many flyers posted onto many light posts, especially around Memory Mall. To limit flyers to only buildings and bulletin boards restricts students’ ability to freely express themselves on  a public university, and there are in fact a wide variety of flyers posted around campus, many posted by students not even affiliated with any registered student organization. This selective enforcement reveals the political motivation of the administration’s response. 

Students for a Democratic Society considers this administrative response to simple, unobtrusive flyering around the UCF campus to be hypocritical as conservative pundits like the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh flock to UCF to lecture on the dangers of “gender ideology”, and conservative protest groups like the anti-abortion Grantham Collection are allowed to besiege the student population with images of aborted fetuses as they attempt to enter the UCF Library. 

Neither of these groups have any representation among the UCF student population, yet they are given free reign of the campus to do as they please under the guise of UCF’s first amendment obligations as a publicly funded university. 

Why are we, full-time students actively attending UCF, not even awarded the privilege of taping a flyer to a lamp post?

The double standards being levied against Students for a Democratic Society are transparently a form of retaliation against us in response to our repeated pro-Palestine agitations, including our demand that UCF release the records of its Strategic Investment Program and begin divesting itself from Israel, the genocidal Zionist project, and the American defense contractors that aid them in it. Unfortunately for the university, this will not dissuade us from continuing to struggle for a more democratic, more progressive society. 

Stay tuned for future actions.

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