FSU students protest, demand meeting with president on HB999

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 7:19 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State University students marched and protested through campus Thursday, demanding officials speak out against HB999.

FSU Students for a Democratic Society led the protest outside the Westcott building, where the university president’s office is located. University officials said there was no planned meeting between the organization and President Richard McCullough, as he was already scheduled to be elsewhere.

The group chanted for roughly 20 minutes before Provost Jim Clark came outside in an attempt to address them. During that attempt, students yelled to Clark that he was a liar, so he went back into the building.

Students were eventually allowed inside, where they continued chanting in the hallway of the president’s office. From that point, Provost Clark agreed to have an on-the-spot meeting with four members of the organization.

WCTV sat in on the meeting while students expressed their concerns to Clark about how HB999 could affect their education. The bill would eliminate funding for college and university programs and activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion. It would also prevent students from majoring or minoring in gender studies.

“I deserve to have my education protected, and so does everyone else,” said sophomore Teddy Vegezzi.

The four students were visibly frustrated during the meeting with the provost, but he assured them that they are being heard. “We are totally committed to student success,” said Clark. “We believe the legislature is a great partner with higher education, and we feel that with mutual discussion and conversation, we’re going to get somewhere and have a very successful session.”

Ahead of the protest, multiple entrances to the Westcott building were locked for safety; however, one entrance remained open, according to university officials.