UFF-FAU holds protest against university administration’s response to COVID-19 safety protocols

Sign-wielding protesters stood outside the Administration Building on Aug. 23 to make their voices heard by university administration.


Protesters at the UFF-FAU protest. Photo by Eston Parker III.

Kendall Little, Managing Editor

University faculty and staff gathered outside of the Administration Building at 12 p.m. today to protest how administration is handling COVID-19 safety protocols. 

The FAU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, better known as UFF-FAU, organized the protest to demand changes in the university’s COVID-19 safety policy. 

“We organized this protest to draw attention to the need for a mask mandate, but we also organized a petition to draw attention to the need to have vaccination sites all across this campus,” UFF-FAU President Deandre Poole said. “We also organized this protest to ask for faculty to have the choice to put their classes online.”

Protesters wielded hand-made signs that read phrases such as ‘EDUCATION, NOT INFECTION’ and ‘STUDENTS ARE OUR PRIORITY, NOT DESANTIS.’

Protesters show off their signs. Photo by Eston Parker III.

“How are students supposed to learn when they are scared? When they are nervous about their classmates? When they are sick? When they are missing class because they have unnecessarily gotten COVID-19? When they are unable to come to class because they, someone in their family, is vulnerable?” Nicole Morse, second vice president of UFF-FAU said to onlookers. 

A protester shares his sign with onlookers. Photo by Eston Parker III.

Chris Robé, UFF-FAU communications committee chair, emphasized that the demands of UFF-FAU are not unreasonable or impossible.

“It’s an embarrassment why we’re out here because we’re not asking the impossible, we’re asking the people who lead the university to actually lead it. They want to make the salaries that they do but they want to stay behind the closed walls. We’re asking for really basic protection,” Robé said. “We need them to stand up and actually defend us and put our lives over their careers, it’s very clear right here right now where we stand, we mean nothing. Their careers mean everything.”

Though the university began offering vaccines on campus on Aug. 23, Poole proposed that the university have designated vaccination sites across the Boca Raton campus that operate daily. 

Robé also noted that vaccines should have been made available weeks before classes began, not on the first day. He stated that he doesn’t know why university administration isn’t updating the COVID-19 safety policy — nor does he care.

“I don’t know what their reasoning is, but all I know is that they’re failing. Whatever the reason is sort of irrelevant to me. This is when they should step up their leadership,” Robé said.

Kendall Little is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @klittlewrites.