If some students have their way, Florida State athletic contests, football in particular, would have a different look to them moving forward.
According to FSView.com, the Florida State student government voted in favor of a resolution April 20 that “requests that the wearing of any Native American headdresses shall no longer be permitted into athletic arenas at FSU.” Those arenas would include, of course, Doak Campbell Stadium, the home of the football Seminoles.
“The 68th Student Senate does not condone the wearing of headdresses because it inaccurately depicts the culture of the Seminole Tribe,” a portion of the resolution read, adding that the Senate” requests inappropriate use of the materials as listed above, constitute a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.”
The website writes that “[h]eaddresses usually worn and seen by those at Florida State games are closer to those worn by the Plains region tribes, such as the Sioux, rather than those of the Seminole Tribe.”
The resolution, which is non-binding, passed by a 27-4 margin, with five members of the SGA abstaining. From the Palm Beach Post:
University spokesperson Browning Brooks said the administration will give the issue “careful thought and consider some ideas to promote additional cultural sensitivity by our students and fans.” Browning said the resolution is a “very thoughtful and reasonable request. We appreciate the motivation behind it, as well as the tone.”
Even if the administration’s “careful thought and consideration” results in the university adopting the resolution, one former SGA member told the Post, First Amendment concerns could preclude it from taking hold.
“I believe the intentions are genuine, and in the best interest in the Seminole Tribe of Florida, I have a great concern for the fact that this could impede on students’ first amendment rights,” the former SGA official, who requested anonymity, told the newspaper. “There’s nothing in national or state legislation that restricts an individual’s right to restrict clothing or material, and I believe there are certain consequences associated with the bill that could impede on students’ first amendment rights and could introduce trouble for the university itself.”
“I was one of the four senators who voted “no,” second-year criminology major Taylor Ney told the Tallahassee Democrat. “The reason I voted no was I felt it was a violation of the First Amendment. It limits students’ rights to speak their minds.”
FSU has long received the support of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Nation of Oklahoma for their use Native American imagery, including Chief Osceola and Renegade, which the university refers to as symbols and not mascots.