Jewish college student with a 'well-founded fear' of antisemitism? Come learn in Florida instead

Jewish college student with a ‘well-founded fear’ of antisemitism? Come learn in Florida instead

(As originally published, Tue, January 9th 2024)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TND) — Florida has been known for its efforts to attract first responders and teachers from other states.

Now, there’s another group: Jewish college students “who have a well-founded fear of antisemitic persecution at their current postsecondary institution.”

Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s also a GOP presidential candidate, directed public colleges and universities to waive “transfer application requirements that would otherwise unnecessarily burden” them.

Those include “credit hour and application window requirements.”

DeSantis used the opening day of the legislative session to contrast himself with the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania who would not say calling for the genocide of Jewish people violates their universities’ policies on bullying and harassment.

Jewish college student with a 'well-founded fear' of antisemitism? Come learn in Florida instead
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is welcomed to a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives by House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, left, and Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, right, to give his State of the State address, Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

“With leaders of so-called elite universities enabling antisemitic activities, rather than protecting their students from threats and harassment, it is understandable that many Jewish students are looking for alternatives and looking to Florida,” DeSantis said.

He also claimed Florida is getting “an elevated number of inquiries” from students about transferring to Florida schools.

Specifically, “Jewish students seeking to flee” who are “academically eligible” would receive:

  • credit hour requirements for transfer applications waived,
  • application date windows for transfers waived, and
  • colleges and universities urged to use “their existing statutory authority to grant out-of-state tuition waivers on a case-by-case basis” for students with financial hardship.

DeSantis has claimed he arranged to send healthcare supplies, drones, weapons, and ammunition to Israel.

A month ago, he declared a state of emergency “to protect Floridians from antisemitic intimidation and threats of violence relating to Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack and the Government of lsrael’s response.”

Also in recent months, the chancellor of Florida’s university system ordered schools to disband chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine. The University of Florida chapter sued in federal court.

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