News | November 6th, 2023

FAMU Discrimination Case Against the State of FL Hearing Date Set

By: Hannah Kirby
FAMU Discrimination Case Against the State of FL Hearing Date Set

November 8, 2023, is the date set for the hearing on the state’s request to dismiss the potential class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination against historically Black college and university Florida A&M.



US District Judge Robert Hinkle gave attorneys for a group of six FAMU students until July 3 to file a revised lawsuit over state funding of the universities. Photo courtesy: Marina Brown/Special To The Tallahassee Democrat

US District Judge Robert Hinkle presided over the hearing after dismissing the case in June. Hinkle allowed the plaintiffs to come back with revisions to address his concerns. The student’s attorneys filed a revised suit on July 3, 2023.

Florida A&M University was founded on October 3, 1887, starting with just two professors and 15 students. Initially, Florida A&M was the only public HBCU and one of two land-grant universities.

Since the university’s humble beginnings, Florida A&M has soared into a genuinely respected and dignified institution. As the university has continued to grow, students seem to be fighting the same battles repeatedly; whether it’s housing crises, financial aid conflicts, or a lack of resources, students are exhausted.

A  lawsuit was filed last year on behalf of six students suing the state of Florida, the former chancellor of Florida’s University system, and the board of governors. The suit was formed off of allegations of discriminatory funding, which has been said can be traced back to state-sanctioned segregation.

The student states that Florida A&M has suffered from underfunding in comparison to other state universities, such as Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. The lawsuit alleges that in 2019, UF received $675 million more than Florida A&M.

While the case is being reevaluated, lawyers for the state university system’s Board of Governors and system chancellor Ray Rodrigues argue that the lawsuit deserves dismissal. Arguing that the plaintiffs did not meet critical legal tests such as showing the alleged disparities are rooted in “de jure” segregation, known as segregation by law.