TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Students and faculty across college campuses in Florida rallied to voice their disapproval of Governor Ron DeSantis’ recent higher education reforms on Thursday.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported “hundreds” gathered outside Westcott Fountain on the campus of Florida State University, while images of the event on social media show smaller crowds. The group included students and faculty from FSU, Tallahassee Community College and Florida A&M (FAMU), which have a combined 60,000 students between the three schools.
Several other colleges and universities also participated in the “Stand for Freedom” protest across the state. Event organizer Ben Braver with the College Democrats at the University of South Florida said the goal is to celebrate “diversity in thought and freedom in education.”
Last month, Governor DeSantis announced a new bill that would prohibit colleges from funding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs with discriminatory practices.
Braver, a member of the USF College of Democrats, told The Florida Standard that he expected a minimum of 2,000 students and faculty to participate. Posts on social media suggest Braver’s estimate was higher than the turnout. The coordinated demonstrations took place Thursday from noon to 1 pm.
A video from the USF protest showed a turnout larger than footage from other campuses. One student held up a sign depicting a guillotine that read: “DeSantis 2024 4 THE CHOP!”
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY (FSU)
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA (UF)
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA (UCF)
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY (FIU)
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA (UNF)
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (USF)
NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA (NCF)