College students in Florida are planning to walk out of classes on Feb. 23 to protest Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent orders regarding higher education and ‘anti-woke’ policies.
The Florida College Democrats and Dream Defenders organized the “Stand for Freedom” walk-out to oppose DeSantis’ recent promise to defund DEI programs, his appointment of six conservative trustees to New College of Florida, and the administration’s request for university reports detailing medical treatment provided to transgender patients, the pledge reads.
Participating students are asked to wear black and walk out of classes, jobs, meetings, and other commitments to gather at their university student centers from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
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“The DeSantis Administration is proposing to outlaw all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives at Florida Colleges and Universities,” said the Stand For Freedom pledge form.
“He has displayed a pattern of behavior in which he Hijacks School Systems as he did with the New College of Florida. Marginalizes and Dehumanizes The LGBTQ Community, and portrays an abject Disregard Of The Rights Of Students. He says we are being indoctrinated by wokeness, but we say he is using us in his narrative, and destroying our schools to achieve his vision,” the signup continued.
The DeSantis administration took a deep dive into higher education throughout the state and has periodically addressed concerns that colleges and universities are indoctrinating students by adhering to DEI and Critical Race Theory (CRT).
“People want to see true academics, and they want to get rid of some of the political window-dressing that seems to accompany all this, so that’s no longer going to be in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during the press conference on January 31.
Related: Florida Gov. DeSantis Pledges ‘Education Not Indoctrination’ With Higher Ed Reform
DeSantis also appointed six new members to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees in January, who then voted later that month to terminate NCF President Patricia Okker in favor of former Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
The trustee appointments received backlash from students at the college who alleged their “safety is at risk.”
Students have rallies planned at the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, and USF on Feb. 21, according to a post. Students will protest at the New College of Florida (NCF) on Feb. 28.
Democratic Florida Rep. Maxwell Frost and state Reps. Michelle Rayner, Anna Eskamani, and Angie Nixon signed the pledge.
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