University Department Urges Support For Students Arrested For Assaulting Cops: REPORT

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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The University of South Florida (USF) Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences suggested students support protesters who were charged with assault or battery of law enforcement during a protest early March, according to an email obtained by Campus Reform.

Four protesters were charged for “assault or battery of law enforcement, resisting an officer without violence to his or her person and penalty for disruption to an educational institution” during a March 6 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protest against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to defund Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, the student newspaper The Oracle reported. The department wrote to students on March 9 to inform them of the arrests and provide the contact information for the SDS chapter to “offer support to these students and others affected by the arrests,” according to an email obtained by Campus Reform. (RELATED: Two Arrested After Campus Protest Against Pro-Life Speakers Turns Violent)

“As you may have heard in the news, four USF students were arrested at a protest on campus that was organized by the SDS student organization,” the email read. “If you would like to offer support to these students and others affected by the arrests, please contact the SDS leadership[.]”

The department then sent a follow up email on March 20 correcting that only two USF students were arrested, not four, and that the original email was not an endorsement of the SDS chapter, Campus Reform reported. A USF alum and an employee were the other two charged during the protest, according to the Oracle.

“We want to correct our error in stating that four students were arrested in the SDS protest. We have since learned that only two of the four protestors arrested are current USF students,” the email reads. “We also want to clarify that our previous message was not intended as a departmental endorsement of any of the specific demands or actions of the SDS organization. It is not our role as an academic department to tell you what positions you should or should not support.”

The department provided the SDS email so students could “make [their] own decisions about whether or not [they] want to reach out to students who were involved,” according to the email.

“The correspondence you are referring to was sent by an individual professor,” Althea Johnson, USF director of media relations, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It was not a message sent on behalf of the university and should not be interpreted as the university’s official guidance or position.”

The Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and Tampa Bay SDS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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