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Thursday, June 13, 2024

DeSantis orders Florida universities to waive certain transfer requirements for Jewish students

Executive order designed to welcome out-of-state students experiencing antisemitism

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Gov. Ron DeSantis directed Florida universities to waive certain application requirements for Jewish transfer students fearing antisemitism during his annual State of the State address Tuesday evening.

The executive order waives credit hour requirements for first- and second-year university students and application date windows for all transfer students. DeSantis also encouraged universities to grant out-of-state tuition waivers on a case-by-case basis for financially disadvantaged students.

Students must show a “well-founded fear of religious persecution” to receive the waiver. The order does not apply only to Jewish students but to any transfer student experiencing antisemitic or other religious discrimination.

While Florida has stood up to protect Jewish students on university campuses following the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war Oct. 7, many other states have failed to do so, DeSantis said in the address.

“This week, Jewish students across the country are returning to campuses that have condoned antisemitism,” DeSantis said.

If these students decide to come to Florida rather than enduring hatred at their universities, they will be welcomed with open arms, he said.

“The pro-Hamas activities and rampant antisemitism on college campuses exposed the intellectual rot that has developed on so many college campuses,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, our universities must be dedicated to the pursuit of truth.”

DeSantis emphasized his administration’s support of Israel over the past three months, including the state’s organization of evacuation flights from Israel to Florida and expanded sanctions passed on Iran.

UF President Ben Sasse criticized people in higher education who excused Hamas’s attacks in an email Oct. 12. Sasse also announced the university’s commitment to protecting Jewish students from violence.

The university’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter is currently suing the DeSantis administration and UF over the state’s order to shut down campus chapters of the group.

Contact Zoey Thomas at zthomas@alligator.org. Follow her on X @zoeythomas39.

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Zoey Thomas

Zoey Thomas is a second-year media production major and the university administration reporter for The Alligator. She previously wrote for the metro desk. Other than reporter, Zoey's titles include espresso connoisseur, long-distance runner and Wes Anderson appreciator. 


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