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Tampa students protest for more Black faculty at university

By staff |
September 5, 2020
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Tampa, FL - On September 2, students at the University of South Florida (USF) and concerned members of the Tampa community gathered at the house of Steve Currall, the current president of the USF, for a car protest demanding an increase in hiring Black faculty, specifically, professors and counselors. The protest was hosted by Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Gareth Dawkins, a member of Tampa Bay SDS, discussed the new campaign to increase Black professors and counselors, which is coupled with a campaign to increase Black student enrollment: “USF needs to hire more Black faculty to not only include Black people in education but to also create an environment that doesn't harm Black people's well-being or chances at success. That's why specific demands like combating white supremacy on campus, hiring more Black professors, and hiring more Black counselors are important to winning our campaigns.”

Not only did SDS and students talk about the importance of hiring more Black professors and counselors, but they also discussed the recent budget cuts that the university is planning, which will impact students, especially Black students and students from working-class and low-income households.

Another member of SDS, Simon Rowe, commented on holding institutions like USF accountable for how they allocate their money, stating, “Unless we stop USF from implementing the proposed budget cuts, our demands to increase Black student enrollment won’t be met and USF won’t hire more Black faculty.”

Throughout the event, members of Tampa Bay SDS gave speeches demanding that USF dedicate more resources for Black students, hire more Black faculty, and also combat racism and white supremacy on campus. Tampa Bay SDS will continue fighting for an increase in Black faculty and counselors at USF and will continue holding the university accountable to their promise of increasing Black student enrollment.

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