In an effort to separate USF from the U.S. military, the USF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organized a protest.
Along with the SDS, Raices en Tampa — an immigrants’ rights group — the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the Green Party Alliance organized an anti-war protest in front of Cooper Hall on Monday afternoon as part of the SDS’s Books Not Bombs campaign.
The SDS organized the campaign in an effort to “end the memorandums of understanding between USF and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which are the military bodies that control operations in Latin America and the Middle East,” said Danya Zituni, a junior majoring in international studies.
“What these memorandums of understanding do is they say, ‘We agree with what the U.S. military is doing, we give you an opportunity to recruit students on campus, do weapons development, etc.’ So they can cancel these memorandums at any time, so these protests are to list our demands and hopefully get it canceled,” Zituni said.
As part of the campaign, the SDS held events such as a teach-in, which encouraged students to learn about the university’s involvement with CENTCOM and SOUTHCOM, a relationship they claim is the university’s support of the military’s actions in the War on Terror.
Last November, the Tampa Tribune reported USF entered into a memorandum of understanding with CENTCOM and USF’s Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean signed a pact with SOUTHCOM.
As a result of these agreements, the SDS began protesting these entities’ right to exist on campus, which included passing out flyers urging students “Don’t Join the Military” and staging a die-in, according to the Tampa Tribune.
“As USF students, we find that these memorandums make us complicit in the war crimes that are being committed abroad,” Zituni said. “To end this complicity, to end our complicity in it, we want to end these contracts as students that are against war, against imperialism, against racism.”
As part of this protest, SDS and other organizations gave speeches regarding the U.S. interventions in Venezuela, Iraq and Syria, among others, including invasions, bombings and coups.