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Black Fraternities and Sororities At Risk Under Florida Bill

March 15, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to The Hill, Florida lawmakers have proposed House Bill 999, a new bill that would prohibit colleges and universities in the state from providing financial supporting “any programs or campus activities that espouse diversity, equity, or inclusion or Critical Race Theory rhetoric.”

In an Instagram live ahead of Monday’s debate, State Sen. Shevrin Jones (D) told Jasmine Burney-Clark, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and founder of Equal Ground Florida, that the bill is “so vague that HBCUs or other institutions period who have a Black fraternities and sororities on their campuses can practically say we will no longer be supporting you on our campuses based off of this law.”

In addition to forbidding the use of diversity, equity and inclusion statements, and critical race theory rhetoric, it forbids other forms of political identity filters as part of the hiring process,” including as part of applications for promotion and tenure. 

Rep. Alex Andrade who introduced the bill said, “Those student groups can continue to operate how they see fit currently, subject only to the policies and procedures that are content neutral that apply to all organizations, student organizations on campus.”

However, according to State Representative Michele Rayner-Goolsby (D), just because Black fraternities and sororities are permitted, doesn’t necessarily mean they are fully protected.

“There are also other ways to preclude us,” said Rayner-Goolsby. “With our Black fraternities and sororities, unlike the ones that are predominantly white that are privately paid, our monies come through student activities and [student government associations].”

DeSantis has not confirmed if he will sign the bill in its current state.  

On Monday, Florida’s House passed the bill, and the state Senate will debate the proposed legislation on Wednesday.

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