Nichelle Scott, a junior senator with Florida A&M’s Student Government Association and a psychology major, is concerned about the future for public universities in Florida if the lack of political involvement by her classmates continues.
“It ultimately makes Florida public institutions not a desirable place to go to college,” Scott said. “Students go to college for freedom and these laws essentially will strip it away.”
Scott was referring to House Bill 999, a sweeping juggernaut that threatens to dramatically alter higher education in Florida. Republicans, who hold a super-majority in both chambers of the Legislature, are hoping to have it in the governor’s hands early next month.
Students and faculty at FAMU have said that the space that minorities have been fighting to preserve for more than a hundred years has become compromised by the sudden intrusion of power set by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Breche’ DaValt, a member of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and a broadcast journalism student, sees a pattern regarding political uproars among students.
“Realistically, I believe that there is a lot of uproar right now because of House Bill 999 and Ron DeSantis has shown that the things that he says that he is going to do he has gotten them done,” DaValt said. “But I do feel like just like a lot of other movements that people have selective outrage about is going to be a topic of discussion for a while and then it’s going to get back to election time and people are still not going to vote.”
With the weight of our future and future generations to come on our shoulders, where can students find hope through uncertainty?
Jasmine Daniels, a junior senator on the student relations committee and a health science/pre-physical therapy major, was elated at how some students were able to come together to protest against HB 999.
“It was being talked about. I don’t think people fully understood the severity of what this bill meant and how this can really impact us,” Daniels said. “People did go to the Capitol to speak on behalf of the bill, I do think it could have been more people that spoke. But I think we really did band together and unify against this bill and so I was really proud at my HBCU and just across Florida.”
Sometimes students feel discouraged speaking out on political issues. They may feel as if their traction on social media may not reflect in the real world.
“I think oftentimes students think that they have to have this big, huge following but if you look at those who started the civil rights movements or the march for women’s suffrage, It didn’t take thousands and thousands of people,” DaValt said. “It started with probably a couple people who grew and brought more people together in order to fight for a common goal.”