Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Loyola SDS continues protests for ‘Tampa 5’

Maleigh Crespo

In the vibrant city of Tampa Bay, Florida, a recent protest against the defunding of DEI programs has captured the nation’s attention. A rally was held at The University of Florida’s campus on March 6, demanding to meet with president Rhea Law and seeking her support against Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposed law to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in all Florida public colleges.

In recent months, Gov. DeSantis and his administration have taken measures such as defunding DEI programs in all Florida public colleges and universities, banning classroom discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation, and approving concealed carry of firearms without a permit. These measures have sparked widespread dissent and ignited passionate activism among students and progressive groups.

After an alleged physical altercation between protestors and campus police, three members of the Tampa Bay Students for Democratic Society and a faculty member were arrested for initiating the assault and pushing an officer to the ground, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The fifth person involved voluntarily turned herself in after receiving a warrant from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department.

These five individuals are now collectively referred to as the “Tampa Five,” comprising Gia Davila, Jeanie Kida, Laura Rodriguez, Lauren Pineiro, and Chrisley Carpio. If found guilty of felony charges of battery of law enforcement, they could each face between 6 to 11 years in prison. All five protesters pleaded not guilty during their arraignment on May 17.

While the charges against the Tampa Five remain unresolved, Students For Democratic Society chapters across the nation have rallied in solidarity.

Loyola Students for Democratic Society, at the time Young Democratic Socialists of America, in response to the arrest of the Tampa Five, initiated a three-week long campaign to draw attention to and inform the public of these perceived injustices. When the charges were not dropped, Loyola’s SDS escalated their actions, staging multiple protests in solidarity.

Carson Cruse, the president of Loyola’s SDS, has been a vocal supporter of the Tampa Five’s stance. They have emphasized the importance of students standing up against what they see as attacks on education, saying students should view it as a direct assault on their livelihoods. Cruse’s reaction to the video footage of the Tampa Five protest was one of anger and shock as he witnessed women being subjected to brutality and inappropriate behavior by the police.

When asked about the duration of the protests, Cruse responded, “We will continue to protest until the charges are dropped.”

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About the Contributor
Maleigh Crespo
Maleigh Crespo, Editor in Chief
Maleigh Crespo serves as the Maroon's Editor in Chief. Maleigh previously served as the Maroon's  Managing Editor for Print, Design Chief, Equity and Inclusion officer, and Op/Ed editor. When she’s not writing, she can be found listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, online shopping, or feeding the squirrels in Audubon.

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