SDS meets with Interim President Chally

Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protested the University of North Florida’s response to Instagram trivia that “perpetuated racial stereotypes,” holding a sit-in at the President’s Office on Tuesday until several demands were met. 

Students waiting outside of Chally’s office, courtesy of SDS.

The members of SDS had drafted a list of demands from the UNF administration. These demands, according to their Instagram, were:

  1. Increase funding to student groups that represent students of color.
  2. Require student input in all Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) decisions.
  3. Diversity courses and sensitivity training.
  4. Suspension of employees involved in the incidents.
  5. Guaranteed right to protest for ODI diversity groups.
  6. A formal apology from UNF and ODI that goes into detail what went wrong and what will be improved.

As students marched on the Green, they were met by a surprise guest, Interim President Pam Chally. Chally invited the students back to her office to meet with herself and Richmond Wynn, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, about their demands. 

Also present were Alison Cruess and Scott Bennett, Vice President of Administration and Finance. After a long meeting in her office, Spinnaker reached out to SDS about their meeting who  claimed they were able to achieve a consensus on the following demands:

* Clear dedication to university-wide diversity courses and sensitivity training for faculty, staff, and students.

* The right to protest guaranteed for students and e-board members belonging to the ODI diversity groups.

* A formal apology for the situation, to be issued by UNF administration along with the ODI on Friday, March 4.

SDS says that their meeting was just the beginning of their continued commitment to uphold equality and diversity at UNF. 

“SDS will continue to hold Chally and the university accountable as well as have more demands be met in order for UNF to finally become a safe space for all students.”

SDS gathered on the steps of the Fine Arts Center, courtesy of SDS.

Spinnaker also reached out to the University as well about the meeting, who provided this statement:

“The University welcomes open dialogue with the Students for a Democratic Society and Interim President Chally listened intently to the concerns voiced by the students and is working to address the diversity and inclusion issues raised during the meeting.”

True to her word, Interim President Chally issued a formal apology on behalf of UNF this morning.

Pam Chally letter apologizing to the Osprey Community, courtesy of UNF.


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