A peaceful path forward

Dear Members of the USF Community, 

To echo what Fr. Fitzgerald said in his recent message, we know it has been difficult to watch how events are unfolding on university campuses across the country — especially when situations and emotions escalate and cause harm to peaceful protesters. 

Here at USF, we are hearing from many members of our community expressing support for the encampment, along with concern that the violence, arrests, and disruption happening on other campuses may happen at USF.

We are sure you can appreciate how it may be challenging to balance two deeply held principles: Our institutional commitment to students’ right to demonstrate and express their views and, at the same time, ensuring the safety, security, and well-being of all our community members. The former is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, the latter is embedded in our mission and values.

The current encampment on Welch Field is indeed peaceful, organized, and aligned with university expectations. Our collective goal is to continue dialogue and keep our community safe and maintain our campus operations.

If at any time we feel that the safety of our campus is in jeopardy, additional actions will be taken. We cannot allow the hurt and violence we are seeing at other institutions to happen here. 

Our goal is to find a peaceful path forward where all voices continue to be heard, community needs are met, our values are respected and prioritized, and our academic enterprise proceeds with vigor, innovation, and distinction.

Through several avenues, the university has been presented with a list of demands and requests focused on USF’s investments and global positions. We are currently working through these in consultation with members of the administration and Leadership Team, and look forward to conversations with our students. We will keep the community informed when details are available.

As we move forward, let us commit to engaging in dialogue and advocacy in ways that uphold our values and ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our community. By working together, we are confident we can address challenges and create positive change in a manner that respects our shared space and principles.

Thank you for all you do for our community and each other.


Eileen Fung
Vice President, Academic Affairs and Provost 

Julie Orio
Vice President, Student Life

Shannon Gary
Associate Vice President, Student Life and Dean of Students