FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A delegation of students from Florida Gulf Coast University will travel to Washington, D.C. for the "March for our Lives" event against gun violence.
The event's website states the march aims to "demand that [student] lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today." The university's student government approved the trip, Tuesday. "I would love to go, I think it's an amazing opportunity," said freshman Lauren Anderson. "It's essentially being part of history, it's being part of something bigger than yourself."
The plans drew criticism from others at the school. The campus's 'College Republicans' organization released a statement, Tuesday, stating that sending students to the march under the schools name would not be appropriate. The trip will cost the school $25,000. The memo called the march "partisan political lobbying. "The march might not be political, but it will have a serious political undertone," said senior member Alex Pilkington. "We believe that agenda is very anti 2nd amendment."
Because student government is considered a department at the university, funding for the trip did not have to be approved through the same process trips for other clubs at the school would. "To anyone who is going, I fully them in their effort to be politically aware. I just wish they weren't doing it with the student government brand of approval," Pilkington said.
However, Anderson does not believe the issue of gun violence is political, pointing our students of any political affiliation are welcome on the trip. "It goes past who you voted for in the past election, it goes past which senators you support," she said. "I hope they get an amazing turn out, because these students need to feel that love. They need to feel they're supported."
Pilkington said the College Republicans will work closely with student government to insure students represent the school in a non-partisan manner.