UF students call for name change of building named after segregationist
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - University of Florida students walked together in solidarity to celebrate Black History Month, but also to call out the injustices at Reitz Union on-campus.
Students where calling for the name change of Reitz Union because of former UF president and segregationists J. Wayne Reitz.
“Reitz was a racists, Reitz was a racists,” students said. “Boycott the Reitz.”
Organizer and member of Dream Defenders, Jerry Jerome, said they planned the ‘Blacked Out History March’ to spread awareness and express concern.
“We want to educate people about Black history, educate people about UF’s disgusting history with Black affairs,” said Jerome. “A lot of these people that were denied access to this university because of their skin color, are still alive.”
Reitz was president of UF from 1955-1967.
“The name has been here way too long,” students said.
Jerome also said organizations ran by people of color are still being treated differently than their white counterparts and are struggling for funds.
“Black organizations and multicultural organizations are begging for money on GoFundMe while there’s White kids with mansions for their greek house,” Jerome added.
Despite their concerns, they still came together to remember how far the black community has come.
“We just wanted to make sure that we come out here, on the short month that we have, to really celebrate all the Black people in this community,” Oluwabusayo Oni said.
Jerome agrees that it’s important to remember and pay his respect to those who came before him.
“I think learning about our past and learning about us as a whole really helps us,” said Jerome. “I’m grateful i can have an education but there’s always space for change.”
As they celebrate history, they’re hoping for change.
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