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Tampa Bay SDS wins major victory in their Increase Black Enrollment campaign

Por Eithne Silva |
August 9, 2020
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graphic: Black community 24.19% of Tampa; only 9% USF student body

Tampa Bay SDS wins major victory in their Increase Black Enrollment campaign

By Eithne Silva

Tampa, Fl - On August 4, the president of the University of South Florida (USF) released a statement to the public announcing changes being made to improve Black student life. Some of these changes include demands that Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) brought to USF administration through their Increase Black Enrollment campaign.

In the fall of 2019, after a string of white supremacist activity on campus as well as the lowest proportion of black students at USF in a decade, Tampa Bay SDS launched their Increase Black Enrollment campaign to put pressure on USF administration to make the university more accessible to Black students.

While the campaign was initially met with hostility from USF administration - with claims that USF did not have the funds to start recruitment programs and that it is not the university’s responsibility to deal with racism on campus - they have recently changed their tune.

After a year-long campaign, as well as increasing pressure from Tampa Bay SDS and other organizations such as the Black Student Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, USF administration allocated funds for programs aimed at increasing Black enrollment. The president of USF announced that they are starting an expansive recruitment program and a guaranteed admission program for local, majority-Black high schools in addition to creating more scholarships for Black students – all demands from the Tampa Bay SDS campaign.

“We hope that these changes will make the university more accessible to Black students and will increase the number of Black students at USF. Since the fall semester has not started yet, and there is still a lack of Black faculty and counselors, we will continue to hold the university accountable to eliminate racism on campus,” said a member of Tampa Bay SDS.