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USF students rally for more Black enrollment before meeting with administration

By staff

Tampa, FL – On November 20, students at the University of South Florida (USF) gathered in front of Cooper Hall to demand that administration increases Black enrollment on campus. Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organized and led the demonstration.

This event occurred in anticipation of an upcoming December 4 meeting with administration. SDS will be meeting with the Vice President of Student Success Paul Dosa, VP of Diversity and Inclusion Haywood Brown, Assistant VP of Admissions Glen Besterfield, and Dean of Students Danielle McDonald. The meeting will determine the future of how USF will address Black enrollment on campus, which has continuously declined over the past ten years.

As of 2018, Black enrollment was 10.7% of the student body on the Tampa campus, and has never exceeded 12%. As of November 19, undergraduate Black enrollment stands at 9.9%, an all-time low. This is especially stunning because the community surrounding USF is nearly 27% African American.

This demographic skew occurs at the same time as an increased white supremacist presence at USF. Spray-painted racial slurs and racist propaganda have appeared semi-regularly since 2017.

“It’s up to USF administration whether or not they will truly address the gap that exists between the surrounding community and the bubble of campus. How they choose to move forward will not only determine how many community members will have access to quality education, but also how ‘welcome’ white supremacist forces will feel on campus,” said Tampa Bay SDS member Elizabeth Kramer.

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