Judge hears arguments in FAMU discrimination case, students sue state for $1.3 billion
The students allege that’s how much FAMU has been underfunded compared to the University of Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida A&M students were in federal court Thursday afternoon as part of a lawsuit against the Florida Board of Governors.
They allege FAMU has been historically underfunded compared to predominantly white institutions. Their attorney called the case an issue of institutional racism.
FAMU students are suing the state for $1.3 billion. That’s how much they claim FAMU has been underfunded compared to the University of Florida. Both universities are land grant schools, and plaintiffs argue they should be given the same amount of state funding.
They argue this is an issue not just at FAMU, but at HBCUs across the country. They’re asking the state of Florida to commit to giving equal support for HBCUs and traditionally white institutions within five years.
FAMU student Brittney Denton is one of the plaintiffs. She says this lawsuit is about sending a message that students at HBCUs deserve the same opportunities as all other students.
In the case’s first hearing Thursday, the state was seeking a motion to dismiss the case entirely. Instead, the judge gave attorneys for the plaintiffs 30 days to amend their initial complaint before both sides reconvene.
The state argues there is no evidence to prove differences in funding are the result of discrimination. It says the Board of Governors uses neutral benchmarks, such as retention rates and postgraduate employment and salaries, to determine how much state funding universities get.
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