Free Karl Marx!

The University of Florida

The University of Florida removed the sign for the Karl Marx group study room at Library West after a report from the conservative news organization Campus Reform. Campus Reform, in its own words, operates as a surveillance organization of leftist thought on campus: “Campus Reform continues to report on the proliferation of Marxist and other leftist influences in higher education.” After the release of the report, and without any feedback from university students, the administration removed the Karl Marx group study room justifying their actions by citing current events in Ukraine.

As a university that prides itself on quality education, the justification for this removal on the basis of the ongoing tragic conflict in Ukraine lacks any historical basis. Karl Marx was a German philosopher who died in 1883. The current Russian imperialist state is run by capitalist oligarchs who hold no affinity for the Marxist slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

The removal of the Karl Marx group study room is not only historically illiterate but insulting to UF students who have been fighting for years to change the name of buildings glorifying racists and homophobes only to receive no response from the administration. Julius Wayne Reitz, the namesake of the Reitz Union, denied admission to 85 black students and allowed witch hunts targeting leftist and queer students. O'Connell, Smathers, Buckman, Mallory, Reid, Yulee, Holland, and Shands are the names of segregationists and confederates that litter the UF campus. Despite thousands of UF students tirelessly working to rename these buildings and petitions achieving over seven thousand signatures, the administration did not act. However, the petulant whining of a few right-wing news outlets apparently warranted immediate action.

The University of Florida has a long history of censorship from the McCarthy-era witch hunts of President Reitz to its most recent attempts to prevent professors from testifying. These acts of censorship consistently target left-wing ideas at the behest of a right-wing state government. Censorship, however, is not a partisan issue and inevitably affects everyone. We call on everyone who supports free speech and academic freedom to stand with us in the fight against university censorship.

Our Demands:

1. We demand the immediate reinstatement of the Karl Marx room as an official group study room in Library West.

2. We demand the University of Florida work with UF students for an equitable solution regarding building names that glorify racists and homophobes.

3. We demand a genuine commitment from the University of Florida to academic freedom, following the demands laid out by the Free UF Coalition.

Petition by
UF YDSA
Gainesville, Florida
Sponsored by

To: The University of Florida
From: [Your Name]

As a group of concerned students at UF, we unequivocally condemn the removal of the Karl Marx group study room as a historically illiterate act of censorship that will inevitably have a chilling effect on free thought on campus.

As a university that prides itself on quality education, the justification for this removal on the basis of the ongoing tragic conflict in Ukraine lacks any historical basis. Karl Marx was a German philosopher who died in 1883. His contributions to the fields of economics, philosophy, and sociology have been objectively profound and important. The current Russian imperialist state is run by capitalist oligarchs who hold no affinity for the Marxist slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

The removal of the Karl Marx group study room is not only historically illiterate but insulting to UF students who have been fighting for years to change the name of buildings glorifying racists and homophobes only to receive no response from the administration. Julius Wayne Reitz, the namesake of the Reitz Union, denied admission to 85 black students and allowed witch hunts targeting leftist and queer students. O'Connell, Smathers, Buckman, Mallory, Reid, Yulee, Holland, and Shands are the names of segregationists and confederates that litter the UF campus. Despite thousands of UF students tirelessly working to rename these buildings and petitions achieving over seven thousand signatures, the administration did not act. However, the whining of a few right-wing news outlets apparently warrants immediate action.

The University of Florida has a long history of censorship from the McCarthy-era witch hunts of President Reitz to the most recent attempts to prevent professors from testifying. These acts of censorship consistently target left-wing ideas at the behest of a right-wing state government. Censorship, however, is not a partisan issue and inevitably affects everyone. As a student body, we call on the University of Florida to halt its Orwellian actions and meet our demands:

1. We demand the immediate reinstatement of the Karl Marx room as an official group study room in Library West.

2. We demand the University of Florida work with UF students for an equitable solution regarding building names that glorify racists and homophobes.

3. We demand a genuine commitment from the University of Florida to academic freedom, following the demands laid out by the Free UF Coalition.