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New Florida House Bill Will Not Ban Black Fraternities and Sororities in the State

Historically Black fraternities and sororities are worried a proposed bill moving through the Florida House during the 2023 legislative session would ban them from public universities in the state. But that simply isn’t true.

Multiple viral social media posts claimed that historically Black, Latino and other multicultural organizations could be banned from college campuses if Florida House Bill 999 is officially put into law. The posts allege that the language in the bills could prohibit university spending for these different organizations if the funds are used to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

The simple answer is, this bill will not ban historically Black fraternities and sororities from Florida universities.

Florida House Bill 999 (HB 999), which is titled Postsecondary Educational Institutions, was introduced by Florida state Rep. Alex Andrade (R-Pensacola) on Feb. 21, 2021. The proposed legislation will bar “public colleges and universities in the state from funding programs or campus activities that promote diversity, equity or inclusion (DEI) or “Critical Race Theory rhetoric.”

The bill, though, would also prevent majors and minors from teaching about race, gender studies and intersectionality at Florida colleges and universities. The bill would also “increase the authority of the Florida Board of Governors, the governing body for the state university system,” as well as give university boards of trustees the power to hire faculty members.

While Black fraternities, sororities and other student-led multicultural organizations are typically funded through initiation or membership fees, sometimes the organizations may attain additional funding for other programs or activities through partnerships with state colleges or universities.

In line 341 of the original text, it said that universities in Florida couldn’t use state funds to “Promote, support, or maintain any programs or campus activities that violate s.1000.05. This sparked fears that Black fraternities and sororities couldn’t be on campus.

But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the bill wouldn’t, in fact, ban historically Black or any other student-led multicultural organizations from colleges in the state.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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