FAU Students Plan To Protest House Bill 999

A protest will be held on March 15 by students in front of the administration building starting at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a webinar that will begin at 8 p.m.


Courtesy of Megan Spring.

Melanie Gomez, Features Editor

Students are organizing a protest on March 15 to defend the freedom of education in response to recent legislation that comprehensive studies students say threatens the principles of democracy.

The demonstration will take place in front of the administration building on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. There will be a sign-making session that will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Then it will be followed by the protest that will last from 12 p.m to approximately 3 p.m. Graduate student Megan Spring and her colleagues, who organized the event, hope to attract media attention and gather supporters for their cause. 

The protest is being held under the slogan of “Free Minds = Free Country” (#freemindsfreecountry) to bring attention to recent legislation that they believe targets people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women such as House Bill 999. The event organizers argue that this legislation infringes on the basic principles of democracy, particularly in institutions of higher learning.

“We feel that recent legislation, especially directed at institutions of higher learning, infringes on the basic principles of democracy,” wrote Spring in an email. “While censorship of ideas within the realm of academia is unnerving at best and sinister at worst, this legislation is made even more heinous by targeting people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and women.”

The protest is being held in a bipartisan approach, with the aim of creating a safe space for free expression, reading, thinking, and discussion, which the recent legislation attacks. The organizers argue that the education system is under threat and that the growth of the state and nation could be permanently hindered.

Jodie Boisvert, the president of the committee organizing the protest as well as a Ph.D. comparative studies student expressed her concerns over House Bill 999 in particular affecting students that are currently enrolled in degree-seeking programs that could fall under what House Bill 999 defines as gender and sexuality studies, as well as critical race theory. 

Courtesy of Megan Spring.

“Students that are currently enrolled in these programs wouldn’t be able to complete their thesis at FAU if this were to pass, “ said Boisvert. 

If the bill were to pass, Boisvert worries that fellow students would have to finish their degrees elsewhere. Furthermore, both she and Spring worry that the bill’s influence would go beyond just comparative studies, but also the FAU community as well.

“We are protesting to ensure that our growth as a state and ultimately as a nation will not be forever stunted and perhaps permanently handicapped simply because of fear,” says Spring.

The organizers will also host a webinar at 8 p.m. on Zoom with some of the state’s senators and representatives to discuss the legislation further, and are inviting anyone who is interested to join. Those who are interested in attending the webinar must register beforehand with the attached link.

“We would like to invite anyone who is interested in joining us to express their concerns and opinions on this matter. Our voices together will be much better heard in unison,” says Spring.

For any questions and more information regarding the protest and the webinar students can contact [email protected].

Melanie Gomez is the Features Editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, you can contact her at [email protected] or on her Instagram page @cupidfloats.