UCF SDS Fights For Free Expression

Orlando, FL – March 12, 2007. At 12:30 pm on Tuesday, March 6th, members of SDS at the University of Central Florida (UCF) gathered on the so-called “free speech lawn” outside the Health & Physics building. Several speakers assailed the University’s policy banning campus-wide free expression, linking the repression to the U.S. military-corporate dominance in Iraq and to the late 1960s when UCF was created and the architecture was designed to contain and control campus protests.

Caution tape was put up around the “free speech lawn,” indicating those engaging in Constitutionally-protected speech and assembly outside that perimeter had better watch out for a renegade administration that has no respect for civil liberties or human rights.

Students gagged themselves with the caution tape to ensure they wouldn’t engage in free speech once outside the lawn. A six-foot cardboard cut-out of the Statue of Liberty led the procession off the lawn, and her mouth was also gagged. Students carried signs reading “abolish the free expression zones” and “What do we want? Freedom! When Do We Want It? Now!”

View Photos From The Action…

Some 35 marchers proceeded the short distance to the administration building, handling out leaflets explaining the purpose of the demonstration along the way. Once inside, stairs were taken to the third floor administrative offices, where the group stopped at several, including the provost and the president, to deliver petitions demanding the end of the oppressive anti-First Amendment policies at UCF.

Making their way back downstairs, the group then quietly sat in a circle on the first floor atrium for about 15 minutes.

From there the march resumed across campus, going through the Washington Center breezeway and on to the student union, where the group went inside and placed the Statue cut-out surrounded by signs on the Pegasus logo in the middle of the lobby floor, and at that point dispersed.

This action signified the first time a campus organization has carried protest inside the administration building, and was only the latest in the continuing campaign to restore rights illegally usurped by administrators and link oppression at home with liberation struggles against the empire worldwide.

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