VIDEO: Why I spoke at DeSantis’ higher ed reform press conference

Florida Campus Correspondent Emily Sturge spoke at a press conference where Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced new reforms for the state’s universities.

Campus Reform Correspondent and University of Florida student Emily Sturge spoke at a press conference where Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced new reforms for the state’s universities. The reforms take aim at widespread leftist indoctrination on college campuses and what DeSantis calls the practice of “impos[ing] ideological conformity.”  

Watch the full video here

On Jan. 31, I spoke at Governor Ron DeSantis’ press conference where he announced reforms for Florida’s higher education.  

I’m a conservative and spoke about my experience with leftist indoctrination at Florida universities. I feel particularly strong about it because I see it firsthand in classrooms on my University of Florida campus every day.

The classes offered at Florida’s public universities are essentially ‘How to be a leftist 101.’ In my speech, I cited examples of things I’ve heard professors say in the classroom: America is the most racist nation and women have no rights. 

As professors lecture these woke ideas, students in the classroom often nod their heads in agreement and do not challenge the arguments. The students who do offer rebuttals, like me, become the targets of our peers who try to silence any opposing perspectives. 

It is two days after the press conference and I have been targeted online by hundreds of students at my university.  Over the past two days, I have received messages such as “kill yourself now!” and “go to hell.” 

[RELATED: How Florida colleges help support the $9.5 billion DEI industry]

The backlash I receive explains why more conservative students do not speak up on campuses.  They can expect this kind of treatment after speaking their values. 

When I set foot on my campus two years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would remain firm in my conservative values and steadfast in my Christian faith. But having those beliefs already puts a target on my back. I have been vilified by my classmates, who continuously post online calling me slurs. 

I discussed the backlash in my speech, as well as the hateful messages to illustrate what conservatives must endure in higher education.  

[RELATED: DeSantis announces sweeping changes to dismantle DEI, CRT in higher education]

After I spoke, members of the audience rushed towards me to talk one-on-one and exchange personal experiences.  Many people told me they had either a child or grandchild experiencing leftist indoctrination on a college campus.  Many people thanked me for fighting this problem and commended me for continuing to speak out despite the backlash I receive.  

Students in classrooms today are the leaders of tomorrow, and the future of our nation will be placed in their hands. This is why it is so important for our schools to educate, not indoctrinate.

Watch the press conference here

Follow Emily Sturge on Twitter. 

Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.