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FSU Protesters Arrested: Unveiling the Clash Between Freedom of Speech and Campus Regulations

Tuesday afternoon at Florida State University, five pro-Palestinian protestors were taken into custody after multiple tents were set up on Landis Green, a prominent spot on the Tallahassee campus that is frequently the site of events and demonstrations.

Social media videos showed the arrests that took place after the demonstrators refused to abide by a court order despite being warned several times, according to Anna Prentiss, an FSU spokesperson. Prentiss underlined that although the institution supports free speech, it must be used in compliance with both the law and university policies.

According to Prentiss, two of the people detained have been identified as students. Four of the people who were arrested, according to a leader of one of the organizing groups, were students.

Vice President of Tallahassee Students for a Democratic Society Tavyan Dorsey chastised the university’s response, accusing it of trying to stifle free expression and cause President Richard McCullough discomfort.

In addition to stressing that erecting a tent shouldn’t be grounds for arrest, Dorsey discussed the university’s decision to suspend their group following prior pro-Palestinian shouts that interrupted a meeting of the governing board.

According to court documents, the detained people are accused of misdemeanor trespassing on property after being warned. This event comes after protesters were previously warned not to set up tents, and campus police intervened to take down tents that had been temporarily erected at a previous demonstration.

At a news conference, Governor Ron DeSantis brought up the sprinkler incident and suggested it was a fitting reaction to the demonstrators. During Thursday’s demonstration, there was a surprise turn-on of the campus water sprinklers, which dampened the signs.

Nine demonstrators were taken into custody on Monday at the University of Florida and three at the University of South Florida on the same day, amid larger protests taking place on Florida campuses. Ten more demonstrators were taken into custody at the University of South Florida on Tuesday after police sprayed tear gas on a group of protestors who would not leave.

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