Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his 2024 U.S. presidential campaign May 24, which elicited both support and antagonism from UF students.
Soon after DeSantis declared his presidential bid, a group of students created the Instagram account @studentsforDeSantis_UF, the account received both praise and opposition.
“No one said launching a Students for DeSantis chapter at my university would be easy,” wrote Harrison Feld, a UF student who helped start the account, in a tweet.
Scott Howard, a 21-year-old UF political science senior, supports DeSantis because he believes the Florida governor will address important political issues, he said. Howard cares most about policies surrounding federal debt and would like to see a presidential candidate with a clear plan on how to address it.
“I believe DeSantis will have clear plans to address both,” Howard said. “More importantly, he had the potential to force Trump out of public life, which matters more to me than anything else.”
Howard supports legislation that restrict controversial topics in K-12 and proposed laws placing restrictions on higher education but is opposed to proposals to end tenure, he said.
Joey Quirk, a 21-year-old political science senior, prefers DeSantis to other Republican candidates but doesn’t expect to vote for him.
“[My reason not to vote for him] is doubly as true given some of the more authoritarian bills he has sponsored or supported in recent months,” Quirk said.
Paulina Trujillo, a 21-year-old political science and women’s studies senior and public relations director of UF College Democrats, said her organization stands firmly against DeSantis running for president in a statement.
Her organization is against DeSantis’ overall vision and the policies he’s encouraged and implemented in Florida, she said.
Desantis’ platform as governor centered around “so-called freedom” fosters division and hatred for Floridians, she said.
“UF College Democrats believe Americans deserve better,” Trujillo said.
Garrett Shanley is a third-year journalism and history major and The Alligator's Fall 2023 university administration reporter. In his free time, Garrett can be found watching Wong Kar-Wai movies and brooding.
Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, reporting for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.