UPDATE 9/4/10 2:00PM:

After KnightNews.com first broke the story of this controversial UCF police traffic stop on Monday, other major local media operations have jumped all over the story as well. Take a look at the lead story on Fox 35 the day of the rally:

UPDATE 9/3/10 5:00PM:

KnightNews.com was able to attend the protest and shoot video of parts. Below you will find that video.

In addition, protesters composed a letter to present to the University, which Dr. John F. Schell, the Vice President and Chief of Staff of Academic Affairs, accepted on UCF’s behalf. We are working on obtaining a copy of the letter to post.

Finally, a representative for Professor Vest was in attendance, and spoke before KnightNews was able to arrive on the scene. Below is a transcript of her statement at the rally:

I tell my daughter we are
Purple People
Brown beige yellow red black
Teach her, tell her to be proud
To refuse categories
I teach her to challenge assumptions
To recognize bias from all sides

I tell her its not gonna be easy
Don’t mistake lust for love
Don’t make conditional acceptance
for love
Don’t make exotice adoration for love
I tell her its a gift
I tell her everyone will want what you
Don’t mistake that for love
I teach her to be proud of her people
I teach her to define herself
Differently from her friends
From her grandparents
From her mother if need be.

I tell her to find
Other purple people
I tell her to love them like her mother
Loves her
I tell her we’re all the same color inside
But nobody really sees things that way
Nobody, despite what they may say,
Really sees things that way.

I tell her people are gonna hate you
I tell her people are gonna accuse you
I tell her you can’t change the way
Everybody thinks
But you can be a shining example
Of what love is
I tell my daughter she is perfect

But the world is full of people
Blind despite perfect vision
I tell my daughter the world is not

I tell my daughter we are black people
Red people, pink people, colored people
I tell my daughter we are a proud

I tell her people will not want you to be

I tell her white people may hate you
Red people may deny you
Black people may reject you
Yellow people may shun you

I tell her
You will have
To love yourself more.

KnightNews.com is on scene at the rally to stop police harassment. It was planned in the wake of a distinguished UCF professor being stopped and detained while a drug dog was brought out to her car, when she felt police had no good reason to put her through what she considered a humilliating experience in front of students. She wants an apology, but hasn’t gotten one so far.

A growing group is gathering with signs, and word is a senior representative from administration may be present at 1 p.m.  on behalf of UCF. We’ll be there monitoring the situation.

Protesters gather outside

We received the following press release earlier today concerning a rally being held on campus Friday, September 3rd at 1 pm:

To see the original article we published on the event this press release refers to, click here.

Orlando, FL—September 3rd 2010— On Aug. 9th, 2010, one of UCF’s distinguished professors of philosophy was the victim of alleged racial profiling and police misconduct in which there are allegations of verbal harassment and medical neglect. The mixed-race professor, a long time gay activist and poet, was stopped by UCFPD for what was allegedly a broken taillight. She then claims that she was illegally searched, verbally abused, denied medical treatment and humiliated for over an hour and a half. The incident has ignited a public outcry from students and faculty alike who seek answers and a resolution to what many consider to be the violation of personal rights on campus.

In reaction to this incident, students are hosting a demonstration at UCF in front of Millican Hall at 1pm on Friday, September 3rd. With the purpose of calling attention to this issue of safety, students will have an opportunity to share personal accounts of their experiences with UCF police. The demonstration is also aimed at raising awareness about students’ rights and responsibilities, as well as bringing to the foreground circumstances where these rights may have been violated. There will be spoken word performances, guest speakers, and a united front of students and faculty allied with the professor and those who have also felt themselves victims of discrimination by those sworn to protect.

Since the occurrence, many other students have come forward with their own grievances against UCFPD and express concern for the protection of their own rights. With the victim in this case being a prominent and beloved member of the UCF faculty, it has raised many eyebrows and much worry over the practices and tactics used by campus police officers. This event will not only raise awareness about what can be viewed as violations of civil rights by those in power, but will also lead up to a presentation of an open letter to President Hitt and the demand of a public statement.

The coalition of students behind the effort to seek justice for Dr. Vest and UCF students alike have a list of demands that includes:

1. A public apology be issued
2. Disciplinary actions be taken against the four officers in question and
3. All officers undergo sensitivity and diversity training on the issues of: professionalism, civil rights and liberties, and disability/medical, race, and gender issues

Although the matter is still under internal investigation, the rally is intended to raise awareness about the issue of safety and civil rights pertinent to both students and faculty.
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