A discussion with USF students about why they’re protesting

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Free Palestine flag
Free Palestine flag held by protester against Joe Biden in Tampa. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (23 April 2024).

Student demonstrations have gripped campuses across the U.S. and even around the world. That includes right here in Tampa. Our guests on Tuesday Cafe oppose the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and the financial connections of USF. Saba Indawala and Victoria Hinckley from Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society have been demonstrating at the University of South Florida.

Hinckley was a guest on WMNF’s True Talk last week and we learned that she was suspended just before graduation because of the demonstrations.

Listen to the full show here:

Among other things, students are asking USF to divest from companies providing military support to Israel.

Here’s USF’s April 2024 statement on divestment:

April 2024: Statement on USF’s investment policy – “For more than a decade, some individuals have campaigned for USF to divest funds from companies with ties to Israel. USF’s consistent position on this issue has been, and continues to be, that the university will not divest.

On the show we talked about student calls for USF to divest from companies supporting Israel’s military, about a hunger strike on campus and a successful Student Government divestment proposal.

We also heard audio from a recent pro-Palestine demonstration outside a speaking engagement by President Joe Biden in Tampa.

Last Monday, police attacked activists at USF as they set up an encampment near the middle of campus.

USF’s website said about this, in part, “Before removing tents, university staff again tried to advise protestors that they could not use tents. Participants refused to comply with directions from staff members. Several individuals resisted actions by university staff to take down the tents after repeated warnings, which resulted in three arrests, including one student, one employee and one individual who is not affiliated with the university.”

Then on Tuesday dozens of heavily armed law enforcement on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida could be seen in video with shields and helmets as they dispersed a peaceful gathering of people protesting the US support of Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

A statement on USF’s website mentions that ten people were arrested and “As the day progressed, police observed participants in person and through social media expressing their intent to use some of the items they brought on campus as weapons and to resist university staff members and law enforcement officers. As a result, USF police determined that the protest was no longer peaceful, and participants must leave the area.”

Watch the full show here:

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

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https://open.spotify.com/show/311qfxLFcO8F7ZvnjgZogD – WMNF’s Tuesday Café with Seán Kinane.

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