Students for a Democratic Society asking students to demand Student Conduct charges be dropped

Courtney Green, News Editor

“This is unfair, repressive, and an obvious double standard.” — Monica Martinez, UNF SDS President.

On February 5, members of UNF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) were referred to Student Conduct as a result of a silent banner drop the students organized for Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s visit to UNF. Now, SDS is asking students to call the Dean of Students and Student Conduct to demand they drop the charges.

UNF SDS asks for students to call the Dean of Students and Student Conduct to overturn the charges brought on by their silent banner drop on February 5, 2020. From UNF SDS Facebook.

SDS is asking students who care about protecting the 1st Amendment for students to call in between the days of Monday through Friday in a Facebook event listing.

In a statement, UNF SDS President Monica Martinez shared SDS’s decision to use the word ‘repression’ in the graphic shared to their Facebook which asks students to call in.

“We use that word to emphasize how administration does not extend the same free speech courtesies to students as they do to the campus preachers and anti-choice people that disrupt and harass students on campus,” she said. “When we exercise freedom of speech we are charged with multiple conduct violations. When they exercise freedom of speech, they are protected. This is unfair, repressive, and an obvious double standard.”

While the University cannot comment on whether students are subject to disciplinary actions due to FERPA restrictions, UNF SDS has shared what appears to be the referral their members received from Student Conduct.

The referral from Student Conduct for SDS’s actions, according to the UNF SDS Facebook.

UNF SDS has been concerned about their treatment by the University in the past. During the Fall 2019 semester, SDS dropped a banner protesting the possible neo-Nazi presence at UNF. Their banner was quickly taken down by UNF administration. At the time, the University explained that it was because UNF SDS had not filed a temporary signage permit.

SDS claimed that they had never been required to file such a permit before, and it was only certain content of theirs that was being removed — such as Black Lives Matter posters and anti neo-Nazi banners.

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is a student-led activist group on campus. They campaign around equity and social justice on campus, tackling big issues like racism and LGBT rights. They are known for being outspoken against the anti-abortion group who visits campus (and who UNF SDS refers to as an ‘anti-choice’ group instead), as well as the campus preachers and neo-Nazis.

Students for a Democratic Society nation-wide are anti-war advocates. UNF SDS has stated that this is the reason they attended the Madeleine Albright event on February 5 and dropped a banner stating “M Albright Not Welcome at UNF” and another listing her “War Crimes.”

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