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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Trees Over Profit’: GAU holds peaceful protest for graduate housing

UF Graduate Assistants United throws its final block protest party at Maguire Village

<p>UF Graduate Assistants United and protestors share their sentiments about the state of graduate housing with written notes hung on a wire at Maguire Village on Saturday, June 10, 2023. <br/><br/></p>

UF Graduate Assistants United and protestors share their sentiments about the state of graduate housing with written notes hung on a wire at Maguire Village on Saturday, June 10, 2023.

The UF Graduate Assistants United peacefully protested the closure of graduate housing in Maguire Village and University Village South with a final “no-pool pool block party.” 

About 65 attendees had their last protest at Maguire Village June 10 from 2-5 p.m. and hung handwritten notes that read “Save Affordable Housing” and “Trees Over Profit!” 

The Maguire pool was closed last November due to the surrounding 44 apartment buildings' planned closure this June and near-term demolition, according to the UF GAU Twitter. GAU members protested the closure with water activities, such as water balloons and a slip-and-slide, near the pool as a sign of peaceful protest.  

Old flyers handed out at the event noted UF Housing has a long history of corruption. In 2017, the UF housing director was arrested for grand larceny. 

UPD officers arrived at 1:30 p.m. prior to the event. The police presence initially concerned protestors, but UPD assured protesters they were at the event to monitor and promote campus safety.

One of the officers stayed and performed a magic trick for kids. 

The event featured live music performed by local bands Triple Fault, Rainy Night In, A. Sunroom and Ashra. 

One of the performers for the event was Sen. Anghelo Gangano (Change-Graduate) who got involved with Student Government to represent graduate students and address issues facing the graduate student community, he said. 

“The biggest issue that seems to exist in all my time here is housing,” Gangano said. “Inflation is up every year, rent hikes are up every year and we’re losing 40% of the on-campus housing this summer.”

It’s unfortunate the campus master plan involves tearing down Maguire and UVS, which raises more issues for graduate students, Gangano said. 

Aaron Mares, a 24-year-old UF information systems and operations management master’s student, performed alongside Gangano and shared the same sentiment about the state of graduate housing. 

The songs he and Gangano performed were throwbacks with sad notes to them given the current climate of what is going on with Maguire, Mares said. 

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Mares and Gangano performed Flashlight by the Front Bottoms at the event — the song provided the ambiance with a sense of melancholy. 

“I think there’s a lot of sadness with the potential of less housing being available to graduate students,” Mares said. “Also just the primary body we have advocating for rights being dissolved in the near future.” 

Maguire Village and UVS are set to close June 25. 

This article has been updated to reflect that there were 65 people in attendance. The Alligator initially reported otherwise.

Contact Vivienne at Follow her on Twitter @vivienneserret. 

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Vivienne Serret

Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, reporting for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.

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