Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island (Pic by Office of Senate President, via flsenate.gov)

On Thurs., Dec. 1, a group of students from the University of Central Florida will hold a protest of the Central Florida Legislative Delegation, which will be meeting on the UCF campus. The delegation includes Speaker of the House Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

According to a press release, students will specifically be protesting what they say are “attacks on Florida’s students” brought about by both Central Florida legislators and their peers.

“These legislatures, and many of their peers, have attacked Florida’s students on multiple levels,” reads a press release. “They have: Cut funding to public universities, hiked tuition rates, cut Bright Futures, and passed HB 1355, a Voter Suppression Law that is making it more difficult for students to vote.”

Gov. Rick Scott has been a leading force behind many of those so-called “attacks,” and, in May, signed a sweeping voting overhaul into law. The measure reduced the number of early voting days nearly in half — from 14 days to eight, eliminating voting on the Sunday before election day — a move that many say aims to deter voting by students, the disabled, the elderly and minorities. The law also makes it harder for a voter to change one’s registered address on election day.

Scott has also been taking aim at the state’s public universities, and has singled out liberal arts degrees as an inefficient use of state dollars, since, according to him, they don’t yield as many jobs at STEM degrees.  Scott has also dropped hints that he may be looking at moving toward a teacher merit pay system with limits on tenure, much like currently debated reforms taking place in Texas.

At least 137 students have confirmed they will attend the rally, which is being called “Rise Up UCF.” A host of progressive organizations are backing the student protest, including UCF’s Amnesty International chapter and Occupy UCF.

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