Tallahassee, FL – On Wednesday, September 13, the FSU Students for a Democratic Society held a noise demo on Florida State’s campus. The demonstration began at the Integration Statue and looped around Landis Green, two of the most populated areas of campus. Students and faculty chanted “Stand up and defy! HB 999!” “Increase Black enrollment! FSU, end your silence!” and “Down with DeSantis!”
With this noise demo, the FSU SDS aims to bring attention to one of its three core campaigns for the 2023-2024 school year: “Defend Diversity @ FSU! Increase Black Enrollment!” Governor Ron DeSantis has passed bills to cut funding from diversity services throughout Florida colleges, which serves as a threat to the future of education in the state. Diversity programs were won through hard-fought struggle in the 1960s and 70s and DeSantis and his lackeys seek to reverse them. FSU is a predominantly white institution, so diversity programs, ethnic studies and multicultural groups are essential for African American, multicultural and marginalized students and faculty.
To kick off the noise demo, Joelle Nuẽz, president of FSU SDS, shouted, “FSU has consistently ignored and disrespected queer and trans students, Black students, Hispanic/Latino students, faculty, and more by ignoring the issue of attacks on diversity. We’re not going to let them ignore us anymore!”
The event was co-sponsored by VEGFSU, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, the FSU Graduate Assistants United, FSU’s Black Men in Medicine (BMM). BMM President Miffordens Registre commented on the alarming attacks on Black history within both the liberal arts and the sciences, stating “We wholeheartedly reject any notion that diverse, responsible doctors can be made in an environment that stifles and crosses out any mention of them in the history books and debates their legacies out of classrooms. We will fight to see people like us honored and respected in every facet of education, healthcare, and beyond!”
FSU SDS and other groups, such as FSU’s United Faculty of Florida, the campus faculty union, have attempted to get more information from administration on how HB 999 will affect specific programs of study such as African American Studies and social work, but admin has consistently dodged giving clear answers. As a result, students and faculty are publicly announcing their plans to leave Florida State by the end of this school year. In conversation with Dr. Walter Boot, a psychology professor featured in the Tallahassee Democrat last month, he stated “It is so disappointing that it has come to this. I have been at FSU for 15 years, and at one point imagined I’d spend my entire career here. But I don’t recognize this place anymore.”
FSU SDS closed out the event by declaring their plans to mobilize students to the next Board of Trustees meeting, set for November 10.