Leftist students blast FSU president for thanking DeSantis

The far-left FSU students admonished President Richard McCullough on Instagram for his email that briefly recognized DeSantis' support for the university.

The incident is the latest failed attempt made by progressive FSU students to pressure administrators into publicly opposing the governor's conservative agenda.

On May 15, members of the leftist Students for a Democratic Society at Florida State University (FSU SDS) berated university President Richard McCullough in an Instagram post after he sent an email to students and staff in which he briefly indicated his appreciation for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ positive impact on the university. 

Reflecting on the school’s various academic and athletic achievements throughout the year, McCullough acknowledged that “none of these successes would have been possible without the support of the Florida Legislature and the Governor.”

The Governor and our legislators know that a strong university system that is dedicated to academic and research excellence spurs innovation, drives the economy, and prepares students to succeed in the workplace and lead in our communities,” McCullough added.

In response, FSU SDS took to Instagram to “wholeheartedly [condemn] McCullough and his shameful compliance to DeSantis.” 

[RELATED: DeSantis blocks taxpayer-funded DEI programs]

The far-left students specifically took issue with the president’s “false claims to care about diversity” upon his failure to condemn the recent passage of Florida’s S.B. 266 law, designed to “prohibit institutions from spending federal or state dollars on discriminatory initiatives, such as so called ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)’ programs.” 

The FSU SDS Instagram account attacked Florida’s H.B. 999, a proposed piece of legislation similar to S.B. 266, which the group called a part of “DeSantis’s racist and reactionary agenda.” Contrary to what FSU SDS posted, S.B. 266, not the H.B. 999 version, has become official state law.

“If McCullough actually cared about making campus more inclusive,” the group wrote, “he would do what SDS and the student body have been demanding to do all semester, which is to put out a public statement committing to protecting all ethnic studies, multicultural student groups, scholarship programs, and all other aspects of our university that stand to be abolished now that HB999 is law.”

The student group went on to denounce McCullough’s email as “a slap in the face to the student body” in the wake of DeSantis’ ongoing efforts to eliminate state funding for what he calls “initiatives that promote dangerous political and social activism.”  

[RELATED: New College of Florida students organize alternative graduation after DeSantis takeover]

The social media post also rebuked the president for praising DeSantis’ “significant investments” in Florida’s public education system. 

“McCullough chooses to fall in line behind DeSantis and his attacks on public education. McCullough does not see our university as a place for diversity,” the group complained. “McCullough, take a stand! Oppose education bans!,” the post stated.  

Previous stories reported by Campus Reform illustrate recently failed attempts by SDS to pressure FSU faculty into combatting DeSantis’ educational overhaul. 

On Feb. 21, SDS protested in support of DEI programs in higher education as DeSantis continued pursuing bold reforms. In March, their opposition escalated when SDS barged into an FSU administrative building to demand a meeting with McCullough in order to force him into speaking out against H.B. 999.

Most recently, Campus Reform obtained exclusive video footage in early May of an FSU SDS rally in which participants screamed, “F**k Ron Desantis.”

Campus Reform contacted all relevant parties for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow Kaia Lehenbauer on Instagram.