FAU students and faculty join statewide protest

A group of FAU students walked out to protest against Gov. DeSantis’ policies regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


Ma. Emilia Santander

Students gathered in front of the Student Union to show support for Stand For Freedom protests across Florida.

Ma. Emilia Santander, Managing Editor

A group of students gathered at the Student Union (SU) Thursday afternoon wearing all black in a planned walkout protest against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent plans regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and trans students data. 

In early January, DeSantis requested state universities provide their DEI budgets and data related to healthcare provided to transgender students. Later, he announced plans to defund DEI programs as a way to stop “the tactics of liberal elites.”

United Faculty of Florida at FAU (UFF-FAU) members and community allies accompanied the eight students to support them. 

Kendall New (she/they), a graduate student in the women, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS) program, said that Stand for Freedom, a statewide movement for the protection of DEI, contacted the program’s Instagram Wednesday afternoon to include FAU on the walkout happening across Florida.

Students were aware of the walkouts happening on other campuses for a while, but they learned about the plans at FAU just a few hours before the event. That did not stop them from showing up.

Lucas Braunschwig (he/him) is a junior in multimedia studies and an employee at the SU. He believes the university should encourage students to participate in events like this to make campus a safe space for everybody. 

Zoe Yara (she/her), a transgender student, is very grateful for the diversity on campus, but she is concerned with its current environment. 

“Just seeing the kind of aggressive movements against people like me exist, it hurts that it happens at all,” Yara said. 

Several UFF-FAU members declined to comment, stating they were there only to support students. 

Lillie Feller (she/her), president of National Organization for Women (NOW) at FAU, attended to represent NOW and students that could not assist because of their responsibilities.

“I just really wanted to show solidarity with other people here today– and as well with other universities in Florida– to show I care about the community and that I’m part of it. I’m not afraid to stand up and speak out about what we’re fighting for,” said Andre Betancur (he/him), a graduate student in WGSS. 

Ma. Emilia Santander is the Managing Editor at the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, you can reach her on Instagram @emilias_ed or email her at [email protected].