Florida college students continue protesting bill to eliminate state funding for DEI programs

The students called on FAMU and FSU to denounce the legislation
Students, Democratic leaders push back on HB 999
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:25 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - College students are continuing to protest a Florida bill that would eliminate state funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried joined FSU, FAMU and UNF students Tuesday in Tallahassee to speak out against the bill. Students rallied in Railroad Square, then marched to FAMU, where they protested outside the building where the university’s board of directors was meeting. Students called on FAMU and FSU to take a public stance against House Bill 999 and its companion in the Senate, SB 266.

“They need to condemn the attacks and fight back,” said one FSU student at the rally.

So far, neither university has done so.

The original version of this legislation included language that would prevent students from majoring in gender studies. That has been removed, but the bill still prohibits majors or minors based on critical race theory, queer theory and what the bill calls “radical gender theory.” Republican lawmakers have passed this legislation through committees in both the House and Senate.

“We have to allocate,” Republican Mike Beltran said in a committee meeting earlier this month. “We can’t teach everything to everybody at all times. We have to make decisions about what we’re going to teach and how we’re going to teach it, and that’s what this bill does.”

Democrats have dissented, but they don’t have the numbers to block the bill. At Tuesday’s rally, Fried said the legislation is an attack on student freedom.

“To prevent you all from that fundamental choice of what your education looks like, is not freedom,” she said.

This bill is likely to pass, since Republicans have a majority in the House and Senate. Still, protesters say they’re going to keep fighting against it.

WCTV will continue to monitor this legislation as it progresses.