FSU suspends SDS chapter for disrupting Board of Trustees meeting

Florida State University's chapter of Students for a Democratic Society was suspended for disrupting a meeting of the Board of Trustees with pro-Palestine chants and signs.

SDS members also accused the school of supporting Israel's 'genocide' and chanted the anti-Semitic phrase, 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.'

The Florida State University chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) has been suspended for a protest it held back in November during which its members interrupted a meeting of the FSU Board of Trustees with pro-Palestine chants and signage.

“As an educational institution, Florida State University welcomes free inquiry, diverse thought, rigorous debate and peaceful assembly,” FSU spokeswoman Amy Farnum-Patronis said according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “However, students and student organizations may not disrupt university business, student learning or the normal operations of the university.”

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The protestors, who had reportedly intended to speak during the public comment portion of the November meeting arrived after it had already taken place, were initially quiet, merely holding Palestinian flags and signs, one of which said: “DOES FSU WANT TO PROFIT OFF ANOTHER GENOCIDE?”

One of the protestors interrupted the meeting, reportedly shouting, “We have a question. Why did you expedite public comment so we couldn’t come here? Why does FSU continue to fund genocide through its partnerships with Israel? Can any of you answer that?”

SDS members proceeded to wave Palestinian flags and chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

On Jan. 26, the FSU Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards announced, “Effective immediately the Students for a Democratic Society Organization recognition as a Florida State University student organization is suspended through May 15, 2025.”

The department found that SDS was responsible for three violations of the student code, including, non-compliance with the “lawful order or reasonable request of an identified University official,” behavior that “disrupts or obstructs student learning, instruction, research, administrative, or other University operations,” and “Entering or using the property or facilities of another person or entity without the consent or authorization or refusing to depart when directed by a university official.”

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For the duration of the suspension, the group will be prohibited from participating in FSU activities, having eligibility for awards and honors, reserving university facilities or campus areas, and hosting events.

If the organization’s recognition is eventually restored, it will be put on disciplinary probation for an additional year. The leadership board of SDS will also be required to complete a presentation to answer questions like what is the meaning of “time, place, and manner restrictions” and how they relate to the First Amendment.

Campus Reform has contacted Florida State University and the FSU chapter of Students for a Democratic Society for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.