- The University of Florida's Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group is suing the state university system, claiming Gov. Ron DeSantis' call for the group's deactivation to be in violation of its First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association.1
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Thursday filed the suit in federal court on behalf of the group, which has received more attention since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.2
- The suit is in response to an order last month from State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues ordering the disbanding of SJP chapters over the national SJP group's alleged support for Hamas, pointing to comments characterizing Hamas as 'the resistance.'3
- Rodrigues, DeSantis, and the university system’s Board of Governors are listed as defendants in the suit.4
- In a statement, the University of Florida’s SJP chapter said it has 'every right to engage in human rights advocacy' and it is filing suit to ensure the government doesn't overstep its bounds in silencing the group.5
- The University's SJP chapter also denied any financial or other type of relationship with the national SJP.5
- Left narrative, as provided by The New Republic. DeSantis' xenophobic and authoritarian tendencies are on display when campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination and ruling over his state. In this instance, he's conflating all supporters of the Palestinians with terrorism — a gross act of Islamophobia. This lawsuit will show him that every American, regardless of race or religion, has a constitutional right to assembly and neither governments nor college administrators can silence speech it doesn't like.
- Right narrative, as provided by FOX News. This isn't about free speech or the left's bad faith argument about 'cancel culture,' it’s about protecting the US. If a student organization is affiliated with a group like SJP, that’s the equivalent of giving material support to a terrorist organization and that organization has no place on an American college campus. This is a national security issue and Florida has made the right call.