Pro-Palestine Group Sues DeSantis Over Disbandment Effort

Paul Hennesy/Getty
Paul Hennesy/Getty

The University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the university system following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) push to disband them. UF SJP claimed that their First Amendment rights would be violated if the decision was enforced, especially during a time “when the Palestine-Israel conflict is a matter of vital public discourse and concern.” The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Chancellor Ray Rodrigues, the head of the State University System, talked with DeSantis and later told university officials that two SJP chapters “must be deactivated” as a way to “crack down on campus demonstrations that delve beyond protected First Amendment speech into harmful support for terrorist groups.” But The Guardian stated that Rodrigues based his choice on the actions of the national SJP, who said the Oct. 7 Hamas attack was “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance.” The UF chapter countered it was “fully autonomous” from the national organization and only acted to “mourn the loss of innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilian life.” UF SJP is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida, and Palestine Legal.

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