Representative urges students to protest against DEI bill

Rep. Kelly Skidmore visited the Boca House of Reps on Friday to speak on issues regarding Rep. Alex Andrade’s DEI bill.


Gasner Delvarin Jr.

FAU Boca House of Representatives meeting on March 3, 2023.

Elisabeth Gaffney, Staff Writer

Florida District 92 Rep. Kelly Skidmore visited the Florida Atlantic University’s Student Government (SG) House of Representatives on Friday to clarify which parts of Rep. Alex Andrade’s new bill, HB 999, would affect students, and answer any questions plaguing the student body.

Skidmore predicts that of the 120 Florida House of Representative members, 84 will vote to pass HB 999 — so it is up to the public to raise their voices.

“This is not a ‘not my problem, not my business’ subject matter. This is everyone’s problem,” said Priscila Buono, Library Liaison for the SG House. 

HB 999 instructs universities to remove any minor or major in or related to Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender studies, or intersectionality. The bill also prohibits universities from using Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statements, CRT rhetoric, and other forms of political identity filters.

“It is a very, very dangerous and bad bill, and I can’t stress that strongly enough. That this takes away all opportunity for free thought, for freedom of exploration, and it is fascist in its underpinnings,” said Skidmore.

Skidmore believes Andrade has the intention to target student organizations that are based on racial or ethnic identity or sexual orientation. 

“Those who disagree with the governor’s perspective- that we are operating in a woke environment- that is antithetical to patriotism and freedom, you will not be allowed to do it on campus,” said Skidmore.

She explained the bill is vague in its details, so the answer to whether or not current gender studies majors, for example, will need to restart college is unclear and dependent on universities’ decisions.

Skidmore also finds the explanation of whether funding will still be offered to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is vague, saying that HBCUs should still be able to teach but the school must provide more funding to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs that the governor chooses to prioritize, but that it “is another area that was not contemplated by the draft of this legislation.”

After providing these details on the proposed bill, multiple FAU representatives asked what the student body can do on a local level to prevent this bill from being passed. The bill can still be amended at any time because it was recently proposed.

Skidmore urges students to organize rallies and protests, write letters, talk to the press, make phone calls, and visit legislators in person to encourage them to weigh in and get involved. She said it is important to speak with confidence and back up any claims with factual information.

“What you can do, quite honestly, is everything in your power to convince as many people as you can that this is a diabolical idea that needs to die and that it should not be put into law,” said Skidmore.

Elisabeth Gaffney is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Elisabeth at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.