We want to start this off by saying we have nothing against protesting. We are firm supporters of First Amendment rights - this newspaper exists because of them, and we've been independent from UF since 1973.
That being said, we can't quite figure out why Students for a Democratic Society protested yesterday. Members of the group said they want to know where tuition money and donations are going, mainly out of concern that UF is covertly funding the Iraq War. But UF does explain quite nicely how tuition is spent on its Web site. And since donations are given to the University of Florida Foundation, an organization that exists only to support the university, its spending records do not have to be released - the Government in the Sunshine Law just doesn't apply to it. Plus, UF's Board of Trustees is already looking into the issues SDS brings up.
SDS needs to do its homework next time it wants to have a protest. We can't help but wonder if its members are protesting just so one day they can tell their grandchildren, "Back in my day, we protested when we wanted change."
SDS was very influential during the Vietnam War, and it could have a lot of power when it comes to stopping the Iraq War. But the group would have more success if it focused more on protesting the actual war, not on UF's possible roundabout funding of it.
The society plans to hold another protest in October. We welcome it, but we hope SDS does a little more planning this time before it decides to convene for an hour or so on the steps of Tigert Hall after a delicious Krishna Lunch.
But we must say, it was a bad move on UF President Bernie Machen's part to be out of the office for the day. Hopefully he'll be back the next time students want to give him a piece of their minds.