We Won’t Back Down!

Today was a good day. We spoke up, and the media was listening even if no one else was.

We started right at 2pm in front of Tigert Hall with a pretty good crowd. My estimation skills are bad, but the media reports at least a hundred people. We had some technical difficulties of course (setting up the sound system was a bit dodgy as it was of course a different sound board from the one we had used previously, also it turns out I don’t know how to start a generator!), what kind of action would it be without technical problems? But overall, we were able to make the speakers heard, and able to lead a variety of chants to keep people engaged. And boy was everyone engaged. There were people from all over the community, faculty, retired faculty, students, staff, local community members, even some students who drove up from Sarasota’s New College in solidarity (they’re undergoing their own fight with DeathSantis control right now). We had many speakers, some planned in advance and some last-minute stand ins from the crowd. I got up and spoke for a minute because I had to rush off to a meeting (ironically of the DEIJ committee), but I was able to say a few words of defiance as a staff member that we won’t back down on DEIJ in the libraries until they fire all of us. It was heartening to get cheers throughout my minute of talking both for trans rights and for the work that I am doing.

And then the whole crowd walked inside to deliver the demands to a man who couldn’t be bothered to be there to receive them…or at least didn’t answer if he was there. The students came up with the brilliant idea of posting them around Tigert Hall, but the staff have already removed them unfortunately. So I thought I’d paste them here too. Just in case anyone didn’t get a chance to hear or see them. Here they are:

1)      Market equity raises for staff, graduate students, and all UF-affiliated workers in line with the model set by the University of Michigan.
2)      President Sasse publically disavows attacks from Tallahassee on academic and free speech.
3)      President Sasse commits to non-compliance with targeted list-making activities (i.e, attempts to enforce HB7).
4)      President Sasse maintain all pre-existing commitments to inclusivity, equity, diversity, and justice including, but not limited to,
a)      United HealthCare and GatorGradCare continue providing gender-affirming care and comprehensive reproductive care regardless of the Florida Board of Medicine “standard of care” and
b)      Climate sustainability goals/ initiatives.
5)    President Sasse commits to protecting tenure for UF faculty.  

The Protest Committee

These expectations are not radical in any way, they’re in fact the bare minimum. This is the most basic levels of human decency and leadership we are asking for. Truly, if Sasse can’t even commit to these five simple things, then what is he going to do here?

Today, Sasse sent out an introductory email from the office of the president to all staff, in which he insisted he wanted feedback on all our big ideas. Well, here they are sir. Here are our big ideas.

Are You Listening?

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