Students across Florida walk out to protest Gov. Ron Desantis’ actions (includes video story)

After Gov. Ron Desantis requested records about transgender students and started pushing for a ban on diversity programs in state colleges, students organized a state-wide walkout on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Multiple universities join the walkouts, which were held on campuses including Florida International University and the University of South Florida.

Stand for Freedom Florida, a page on Instagram, gathered information to help student organizations interact and organize their walkouts. To Alex Franzblau, a student and member of FIU’s Young Democratic Socialists of America, the walkout was personal as she recently came out as trans. 

“Things like requesting your information,” Franzblau said. “Banning trans youth gender-affirming car, banning the ability to use Medicare to fund gender-affirming care, all of these are part of a series of escalating attacks on trans people,” 

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, students are also planning a protest at New College, which the governor is aiming to transform from a liberal mecca into a conservative one. 

“His policies are literally destroying our educational system,” said Melba Pearson, director of prosecution projects at FIU’s Gordon Institute. “It’s making students not feel safe, it’s creating an environment where you can’t have open and honest discussions, there’s this intolerance for any kind of descent… we’re going to have a generation of students who are going to miss out on the valuable contributions that people of color, African Americans, and the LGBTQ+ community have done and continue to do.”

Rachel Costa is a student at Florida International University majoring in Digital Journalism and Communications. She was born and raised in Brazil, and enjoys reading and writing. In the future, she hopes to work in the publishing industry.

Layan Abu Tarboush is a digital broadcasting major at FIU, currently pursuing a minor in International Relations. As an international student from Jordan, Layan is fluent in both Arabic and English and has a deep interest in reporting on Middle Eastern affairs. Layan takes pride in being multicultural with great exposure from the East and West.