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FSU students meet with university President McCullough on HB 999

By E. Thomas

Florida students are pushing back against Governor DeSantis racist agenda.

Tallahassee, FL – On August 1, five members of the FSU Students for a Democratic Society (FSUSDS) met with FSU President Richard McCullough to discuss the university's stance on and plans for the recently passed HB 999.

HB 999, also known as the “Postsecondary Educational Institutions” bill, was passed in May of this year. The bill blatantly attacks public education in a number of ways, including but not limited to banning instruction related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), subjecting tenured faculty to five year “performance/productivity reviews”, restricting funding for groups based around DEI (such as campus multicultural groups) or social/political activism, and creating a basis for gutting ethnic studies.

FSUSDS had made six attempts to speak with President McCullough since March of this year before finally securing a meeting. The meeting lasted just short of an hour, during which FSUSDS members asked questions regarding the aforementioned provisions in the bill. The questions focused on the university’s plans for protecting “less profitable” majors and the faculty who teach in those departments, protecting identity-based student organizations and their funding, and the university’s plans to increase Black enrollment.

University administration was reluctant to answer any questions regarding HB 999. When presented with the bill’s language, administrators insisted there were “carve outs” for student groups like the Black Student Union and faculty who teach subjects related to DEI, yet could not provide evidence or sources for these claims, even going as far as to imply FSUSDS was drawing their concerns from the “incorrect version of the bill”. When asked how the university plans to prepare for the bill’s implementation, the president stated that they have “been working every day” but could not give evidence of such work or any details of their plans to protect FSU students and faculty.

This is another instance in a long pattern of silence from university administrators across the state on this dangerous bill. While presidents and board of trustees members make no comment and ignore the concerns of their stakeholders, students and faculty are leaving the state at record rates.

“The university is not willing to answer to student or faculty concerns,” said Cas Casanova, president of FSUSDS. “Admin says they have ‘plans in place’ and are ‘working every day’, but students and faculty are making plans to leave the state right now – they are not willing to wait for FSU’s delayed response. We don’t want to just hear words, we want to see action.”

#TallahasseeFL #HB999