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UF Allows Film Students to Use Post-Earthquake Haiti Footage

Two graduate film students at the University of Florida will be allowed to use footage they shot on a trip to Haiti since the earthquake in January in their thesis documentary. They will have to include a disclaimer at the beginning of the film that explains that the university did not fund or condone their trip, which violated the travel ban the school instituted after the earthquake.

The compromise comes after weeks of discussion between the students, Roman Safiullin of Fort Lauderdale and Jon Bougher of New Hampshire, and university officials. The standoff threatened to put their graduation in jeopardy. With only two weeks until their thesis was due, the students finally threatened

legal action. Bougher's attorney, Gary Edinger, sent a letter to the school threatening a potential lawsuit if the students were not allowed to use the footage.

A representative of the school told the Juice that the University of Florida "absolutely wants to promote academic freedom."

Both students said the post-earthquake footage is vital to their film, which chronicles Haitain orphans and the charity Planting Peace.

The Gainesville Sun has an extensive feature on the compromise and the fallout, which could mean trouble for the film professor who advised the students as they made their film and criticized the school for demanding they submit a subpar product.

You can see some of the footage in question here.

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Michael J. Mooney

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