Florida Walks Back Order to Shut Down College Pro-Palestinian Groups
Last month, Florida Governor and 2024 Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis ordered the derecognition of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters at public universities in Florida.
The announcement followed the release of a “toolkit” from the National SJP, which characterized Hamas’ October 7th attack against Israel as “resistance,” and stated that Palestinian students are “PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement.”
While the state claimed the shutdown was justified by a Florida law barring “material support” for terrorist organizations, First Amendment groups were quick to point out that cracking down on pro-Palestine campus activity is illegal, even when student organizations express support for the actions of terrorist organizations like Hamas.
“The government cannot force public colleges to derecognize Students for Justice in Palestine chapters,” wrote the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a First Amendment nonprofit in an October press release. “This directive is a dangerous — and unconstitutional — threat to free speech. If it goes unchallenged, no one’s political beliefs will be safe from government suppression.”
Now it seems that Florida is thinking twice before cracking down on campus pro-Palestine activism.
Last Thursday, Ray Rodrigues, the Chancellor of the State University System of Florida announced that the system is holding off plans to forcibly shut down SJP chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida, where the student group is active.
However, it doesn
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