Florida College Students Plan Walkout Against DeSantis’ Attacks on Higher Education

Image via FSU

By Giselle Balido

February 21, 2023

The “Stand for Freedom” march planned to take place on Thursday on Florida college campuses comes in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to move colleges away from diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

A demonstration demanding an end to what organizers say is “the DeSantis administration’s attacks on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students, faculty and staff” is being organized by students of the Florida College Democrats, which represents the college student caucus of the Florida Democratic Party, and Dream Defenders, a membership-based organization of young adults and students from diverse backgrounds. 

The “Stand for Freedom” walkout planned to take place from noon to 1pm Thursday on Florida college campuses -including Florida State University, the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida- will demand to restore diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in all colleges across the state.

Fighting for Freedom

This comes in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to move colleges away from diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, which included sending a memo to all Florida colleges and universities requiring them to list programs and staff involved in these programs. 

RELATED: DeSantis Moves to Turn New College of Florida Into a Far-Right Conservative Institution

The governor signed legislation last April to change the accreditation method for Florida schools and heighten performance review of tenured professors. And in January, he appointed six new members to the board of the New College of Florida in Sarasota, which prides itself on educating “free thinkers [and] celebrates diversity,” and was founded on “principles of equality and inclusion.”


The governor’s push would turn the state’s progressive public liberal arts honors college into a stronghold of far-right conservatism like Hillsdale College in Michigan, a Christian school that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has called “a shining city on a hill.

RELATED: College Board Strips Topics From AP Black History Class After Criticism From DeSantis

DeSantis is also opposed to teaching critical race theory (CRT) — the idea that racism is enmeshed in US society. 

United We Stand

For these reasons, the walkout’s host organizations are asking “that you walk out of your classes, jobs and other obligations to meet at your campus student center.” 

Participants are being encouraged to wear all black clothing and to bring posters and pride flags.

The “Stand for Freedom” movement has an online pledge available for individuals to sign by filling out a Google form to petition against DeSantis’s effort.

The form’s signees include Congressman Maxwell Frost, Representatives Michelle Rayner, Anna Eskamani and Angie Nixon.



  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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