[The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Alligator.]
In an era of unprecedented police brutality, I think it is high time UF students be informed about the ways our own campus has become heavily militarized. If you have not yet heard anything about the 1033 Program (I know I hadn’t), I urge you to question why.
UF is one of many college campuses in the Southeast involved in the 1033 Program, under which University Police receives free military grade weaponry from the Department of Defense. This includes — but is far from limited to — assault weapons, SWAT gear and an armored vehicle. Under no circumstances is this kind of equipment warranted on our campus, and quite frankly, I feel alarmingly unsafe knowing UPD has it at its disposal. Not to mention, who pays for the transportation of this exorbitant amount of weaponry? We do.
Our tuition dollars are funneling into a weapon cache to thwart a nonexistent threat, rather than going toward indispensable resources that could enrich our student life. Fortunately for us, this militarization program is entirely optional. UF can opt out of it at any time. Students for a Democratic Society is currently campaigning to combat the militarization of our campus, demanding at the very least full disclosure of the type, quantity and cost of equipment obtained by the program. A rally will be held Wednesday on Turlington Plaza between 1:40 and 1:55 p.m. to inform the Student Body and petition for demilitarization. This is a great opportunity to come voice your support for a truly safe, demilitarized campus atmosphere.
UF Jewish studies/women’s
[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 11/17/2014]