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Black Male Achievers Program Name Is Safe Following Speculation

Despite concerns sparked by a new Florida law that restricts funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, an enrichment program at Tallahassee Community College will not undergo a name change.

Bryan Hooper, the program’s adviser, never believed that the program was in danger of having its name changed, even though he admitted the law was “confusing.” “There have been no talks upstream or downstream about the need or suggestion or requirement to change the name,” Hooper told WFSU.

On Aug. 16, WFSU spoke to Tyler Soto, a student at TCC and member of Black Male Achievers. Soto expressed concern that the program might have to change its name because of Florida’s law. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has suggested that diversity, equity, and inclusion programs are some form of reverse racism.

“In fact, if you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions,” DeSantis told NBC Miami.

DeSantis signed Senate Bill 266 into law on May 15, but it didn’t take effect until July 1. 

Senate Bill 266 establishes government control over higher education, according to an analysis by the Florida ACLU, which strongly opposed the bill. In a press release on the day DeSantis signed the bill, the group wrote: “The law’s vague and overreaching language presents a threat to historically Black sororities and fraternities, and other groups such as veterans’ services and student religious groups.”

Denzel Wiggins, another Black Male Achievers program member, told WFSU his worries about the anticipated name change.

“I don’t think we should have to change our name because obviously it’s for the Black community,” he said. “Trying to erase things that we’ve been through, that we had to deal with to get to where we are now is just trying to water down the things that we’ve done.”

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