Florida Gov. from their employers or universities. A coalition of organizations, including the national SJP chapter, led a walkout on more than 100 campuses across the country on Wednesday in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.
Florida’s university system said it based its decision after the national SJP sent out a “toolkit” to its over 200 university chapters that allegedly referred to Hamas’ attack as “the resistance.”
HuffPost was not able to verify that such a toolkit exists.
DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate, has vehemently endorsed Israeli forces cutting off clean water and other basic utilities in Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ terrorist attacks. Last week, he said the U.S. should not take in any Palestinian refugees because they were “all antisemitic.”
Omar Saleh, the managing attorney for the Florida chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, called the memo “disturbing” and said DeSantis’ action on SJP chapters “should concern the nation.”
“All this is going to do is silence any campus participation and free speech,” he said.
Equating the student group and terrorist organizations was “dangerous,” Saleh said, adding that the state’s rhetoric has the potential to silence other organizations or encourage hostility toward them.
Palestine Legal, a legal organization dedicated to supporting Palestinian activism and free speech, said banning SJP was unconstitutional.
“Florida, particularly under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, has been actively undermining education, freedom of speech and social justice movements, including by banning anti-racist courses and trying to criminalize protest,” the organization said in a statement published on Wednesday.
“This is a blatant attack on students’ First Amendment rights, and it will be challenged in court,” the group added.
Saleh said the students are currently working with organizations to explore their legal options.
“This is beyond a matter involving a foreign conflict. This is affecting our Florida. This is affecting our country,” Saleh said. “These are American students who have these rights. This is about our own freedoms.”