FGCU students weigh in on governor’s college ‘bill of rights’ proposal

Students in Southwest Florida and beyond are fighting college presidents and others for their right to party during a pandemic.

Over the past two days, the governor said he is introducing legislation to prohibit shutdowns of businesses and limit the ability of universities to discipline students for off-campus actions.

We spoke to students at FGCU about the governor’s proposal Friday.

“You can go out with friends and attend a party at your own risk,” said Angelina Grassano, an FGCU freshman.

“Parties should just be a definite no,” FGCU junior Erwin Macquiling said.

But rowdier Florida college students have a friend in a powerful place.

“There’ve been some pretty significant interventions on the college students,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said publicly.

The governor proposed his intervention, a college “bill of rights.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” Grassano said. “I don’t think one decision, like going to a party, should affect someone’s academic future.”

DeSantis has not announced details yet, but he called a student getting expelled for going to a party “dramatically draconian.”

“Some doing mandatory testing, a lot of aggressive quarantining, some colleges have even sent the students home just on the basis of a positive test,” DeSantis said.

“I don’t think the governor should have any part in that because every college is different,” FGCU sophomore Miles Butler said.

“I think the board should figure it out,” Macquiling said.

FSU’s president warned heading out to or hosting a big bash could get students suspended, and the university has reported 1,400 positive cases since the fall semester began.

We asked for reaction from FGCU president Mike Martin regarding the governor’s idea, but a university spokesperson told us he’s out of town. UF and FSU’s presidents aren’t saying anything either.

Two fraternities and a sorority in FGCU remain in hot water for activities that violated the university’s COVID-19 policies.

“Do we have to make the death rate worse?” Macquiling said. “Do we have to have big numbers for this to be a big deal?”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.