U. of Florida Suspends Multiple Conservative Groups Claiming Mask Violations

US President Joe Biden walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, February 8, 2021, following a weekend in Delaware. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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The University of Florida suspended several conservative student groups on campus, claiming that they hosted an event at which attendees did not wear masks. One chapter president, however, told Breitbart News that attendees were required — and did — wear masks at the event.

The University of Florida suspended at least three conservative student groups on campus — Turning Point USA (TPUSA), Young Americans for Freedom, and the Network for Enlightened Women — claiming that their members violated the university’s coronavirus-related rules at an event.

Dean of Students Heather White sent a letter to the school’s TPUSA club, informing the students that their club has been “immediately placed on interim suspension” after administrators were told that they were “allegedly involved in endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the University Community.”

“Event attendees were observed not complying with the Student Behavioral Expectations in Response to COVID-19 and the Campus Events and Guidelines in Response to COVID-19 policies by failing to wear appropriate face coverings and/or maintain appropriate physical distance,” read the letter, obtained by Breitbart News.

The letter added that it is also “alleged” that the TPUSA club did not properly reserve space in the outdoor field on the public university grounds ahead of the event.

Being placed on interim suspension means that the groups will lose “all privileges and access to all campus resources and services, for a period of time, including, but not limited, to the use of University space, participation in University programs, activities, events and services, and registration of gatherings and events.”

“This measure is issued to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the University community,” the letter reads.

The school’s Young Americans for Freedom and Network for Enlightened Women received similar letters.

University of Florida TPUSA chapter president, Carter Mermer told Breitbart News that event attendees were told by all club presidents that they were required to wear masks.

“Event attendees did wear masks,” said Mermer. “And as the president — and the other club presidents — we told the students that masks were required. There was food at the event. We catered barbecue, so they pulled down their masks while eating.”

Mermer also mentioned that the event was held outdoors, in a field on campus that many people use.

“People go there all the time on a whim,” said Mermer. “I see people on the field all the time not wearing masks.”

“We were in a field, there was a cookout, and we had the four biggest conservative clubs gathered,” the student added, noting that the College Republicans were also present at the event.

The College Republicans, however, did not receive a letter from the school, as the group is not currently officially recognized by the university.

Mermer also brought up the other reason the university gave for suspending the club, which was not properly reserving space in the field.

“There was an issue in the proper filing of reserving the space,” said Mermer. “We didn’t properly reserve the space, and because of that, they say we violated their ‘use of space’ policy.”

“This really is an extreme move by the university for not reserving the space properly in an open, public field,” the student continued. “As far as I know, the university has not banned any other clubs for this.”

“On top of that, they said it was alleged,” Mermer added. “They used the word ‘alleged.’ They never provided any evidence.”

“I’m not saying that the University of Florida is attacking us for political reasons,” Mermer clarified. “But I am saying that they somehow managed to suspend all the major conservative clubs in one fell swoop.”

“We have hundreds of members who love coming to our events, and now a lot of events we were going to have on campus can’t happen,” the student added.

In responding to Breitbart News’ request for clarification on how the school determined that the students had been in violation of the school’s mask mandate, a university spokesperson said that “the investigation is still in process, therefore we cannot comment.”

“However, the student organizations were placed on interim suspension, which includes the loss of all privileges and access to all campus resources and services, for a period of time, including, but not limited, to the use of university space, participation in university programs, activities, events and services, and registration of gatherings and events. This measure was issued to protect the health, safety and welfare of the university community,” the spokesperson added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler @alana, and on Instagram.


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