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Florida colleges waive fees, deadlines for students fleeing antisemitism

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state will “welcome them with open arms.”

Florida International University in Miami. Credit: DaveBenRoberts via Wikimedia Commons.
Florida International University in Miami. Credit: DaveBenRoberts via Wikimedia Commons.

In Florida’s State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended an invitation to Jewish students experiencing hate on campus to transfer to a school in the Sunshine State.

He posed the question: “Do they pack up and leave, or do they stay and continue to endure a hostile environment?”

DeSantis said students who choose to come to Florida will be met “with open arms.”

In response, Ray Rodrigues, Florida’s state university chancellor, put out an emergency order to eliminate fees and deadlines for students seeking to escape educational environments that fail to counter antisemitism.

The order requires Florida academic institutions to determine if a potential transfer student possesses a “well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of religion,” saying this “can be established by an applicant who can demonstrate that he or she has suffered, is currently suffering, or credibly fears suffering future discrimination, harassment, intimidation or violence.”

Anti-Jewish incidents have skyrocketed since the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7, with volatile pro-Palestinian protests on campus being allowed to take place under the guise of free speech.

DeSantis said “the pro-Hamas activities and rampant antisemitism we’ve witnessed throughout the country on these campuses has exposed the intellectual rot that has developed on so many university campuses over the years.”

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