TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A heavily contested bill entered committee on Wednesday afternoon, sparking highly impassioned debate spanning nearly two hours.
SB 266, sponsored by Sen. Erin Grall (R-Fort Pierce), would ban specific majors falling under diversity, equity, and inclusion. It would similarly provide for a review of tenured professors, allowing for them to be reviewed following any event that has “cause” – a term pointed out by Democrats as being “too vague”.
Emotional testimonies were given by students, teachers and activists who expressed their anger at lawmakers.
“I’ve learned that the Ku Klux Klan never died, they just stopped wearing sheets because it cost too much,” said an angered college graduate.
“A lot of you all have quoted Dr. King so much, you don’t even know what you’re talking about!” yelled an activist.
A resident of Miami who had made the eight hour trek to Tallahassee to speak in opposition of the bill protested, “it’s an assault on free speech, it’s an assault on the First Amendment”.
A senior at FSU followed up, “it is the agenda of the governor, to in fact eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion.”
A member of the ACLU spoke up, stating “This is not a free state when we’re limiting what we can teach in our universities and what our children can learn”.
“I feel like you’re going to cause good professors to not want to come to Florida to teach,” a college professor said.
“History isn’t there for you to change, nor sweep under the rug just because you’re not fond of it!” Shouted another student.
Despite the opposition, the vote was split along party lines and SB 266 advanced.