ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF students and professors are speaking out after the school changed its approach to how it addresses race and inequality. They say the university rolled out new changes without even consulting them.
This all comes after Governor Ron Desantis signed House Bill 7 known as the “Stop Woke” law limiting how schools and workplaces address the matter.
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The statement from the anthropology department’s website, for example, that’s now been taken down, said, “We acknowledge that many of us are born with unearned privilege, while others are denied basic human rights.”
UCF Senior Alina Hoarau said she doesn’t agree with how the University of Central Florida has taken down some statements from departmental websites. Many were crafted after George Floyd was killed in 2020, talking about equality.
The president of UCF, Alexander Cartwright, issued an anti-racism statement for the campus at that time that said in part, “There has never been a more important time for us to tackle these issues together, with long-standing inequities and discrimination made more visible.”
“The message resonates with me because I have Black brothers and sisters and people that I know that are impacted by systemic racism,” said Hoarau. “I think it was a powerful move for the university to put out a statement like that. I think taking that statement back is really disheartening.”
And she’s not alone.
“I feel like the institution itself should stand with the students and I feel like it’s an infringement upon our academic freedom,” said UCF senior Carla Mangual. “As a student I am disappointed.”
A university spokesperson released this statement to News 6:
“The people that I’ve spoken with, they’re expressing the same things I am. Disappointment, frustrations, confusion,” said Dr. Jonathan Cox, a UCF assistant professor of sociology.
Cox said it brings so many questions.
“To take these down bring to mind various questions like, ‘what we will actually be able do in classrooms moving forward? Will we really be able to talk about these topics or will we experience the same type of censorship?’” questioned Dr. Cox.
Dr. S. Kent Butler is a professor in the department of counselor education and school psychology.
“I just believe we are afraid to talk about things that are true to what’s been in our common existence,” said Butler. “My first thought was “what are we afraid of?”
The governor’s office released this statement to News 6:
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