FAMU Students File Lawsuit Against Florida State For Severe Underfunding Compared To Private White Institutions

Students at Florida A&M University (FAMU) are no longer willing to make do with what they have—and a judge has heard their concerns.

Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida dismissed Florida’s request to dismiss a lawsuit against the Florida Board of Governors. Following oral arguments, Judge Hinkle gave 30 days for the plaintiffs’ attorneys to revise the initial complaint.

FAMU students filed the lawsuit in September. The lawsuit claims there have been significant differences in state appropriations for the HBCU compared to predominantly white institutions (PWIs). NBC reported the suit also said the state turned a blind eye when another institution copied FAMU’s academic programs.

Attorney Josh Dubin believes institutional racism is to blame. He said, according to NBC, “There’s the failure to fund the school in proportion to traditionally white students and allow FAMU to essentially establish its own identity.”

FAMU student and plaintiff Brittney Denton said, “We do deserve to be treated equally as those students that are literally across the tracks from us. It’s not fair that we aren’t able to get the same opportunities. We aren’t allowed to get the same amount of money. We aren’t allowed the same education in the same city as another school that has every opportunity in the world,” WCTV reported.

Six students sued the state of Florida in September. They alleged that the HBCU received $1.3 billion less in funding between 1987 and 2020 than the University of Florida (UF). FAMU is one of two public land-grant colleges in the state; UF is the second. The plaintiffs in the case are Britney Denton, Nyabi Stevens, Deidrick Dansby, Fayerachel Peterson, Alexander Harris, and an unidentified student. Defendants include Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state university system Board of Governors, Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., and the State Board of Education.