$2 Billion Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Florida A&M University

A new class action lawsuit is seeking to compensate Florida A&M University for the nearly $2 billion it has been underfunded since 1987. The university is predominantly African American, while the University of Florida is majority white.

Some dormitories at Florida A&M this year have had flood damage and pest issues, the students' underfunding lawsuit alleges.The Washington Post via Getty Images
The students of Florida A&M have had a tough year, with several dormitories being damaged by floods and infested with pests. The situation has become so dire that the students have filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging that they have been underfunded and that the school has not done enough to protect them.

The students allege that the state of Florida and the board of governors of the State University System have knowingly and intentionally underfunded Florida A&M University for decades, resulting in a segregated environment with inferior resources and facilities compared to the state's predominantly white public schools. The students are seeking class action status for their lawsuit and damages for the harm they say they have suffered as a result of the state's actions.

I believe that FAMU should receive the same level of funding as Florida's white institutions within the next five years. I think that this would provide a level playing field for all students attending these schools. I believe that if FAMU had been funded at the same level per student between 1987 and 2020, it would have received an additional $1.3 billion from the state.

It is clear that America has failed to adequately fund its historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This underfunding has had a profound impact on these institutions, and it is time for America to make things right. The lawsuit filed by Florida A&M University (FAMU) is a step in the right direction. FAMU is seeking $1.9 billion in funding that it has been denied over the years. This is a significant amount of money, and it is clear that FAMU and other HBCUs deserve it. It is time for America to face up to its past mistakes and fully fund its HBCUs. This will help to ensure that these vital institutions can continue to provide quality education to their students and make a positive impact on their communities.

It is unjust for states to discriminate against historically black colleges and universities by underfunding them. This is a clear violation of the students' civil rights, and it will not be tolerated. All colleges and universities should be treated equally, regardless of their history or demographics. We will do everything in our power to ensure that all students have access to the same quality of education.

The difference in amenities between FAMU's Tallahassee campus and the University of Florida's facilities in Gainesville is glaring. This fall, FAMU had to temporarily close at least one dormitory due to flood damage and pest issues, the complaint says. The complaint also echoes Forbes' reporting that FAMU, which has $111 million in facilities debt, had to plead for $33,000 in funding from the student government to reopen its 60,000-square-foot recreation center in February 2021 after it was closed for nearly a year during the pandemic.

It is a shame that the football team at FAMU had to consider sitting out its game against the University of North Carolina due to financial and compliance issues. The team made national news when it put the $450,000 check the school received from UNC for the game in jeopardy. The team played the game shorthanded because of eligibility issues and wrote an open letter to FAMU president Larry Robinson arguing that their financial aid was regularly delayed and understaffed academic support and compliance departments gave them poor guidance, among numerous other complaints. It is clear that there are serious problems at FAMU that need to be addressed in order to give the students there a fair chance at success.

The state of Florida is facing a lawsuit alleging that it has failed to provide adequate funding to Florida A&M University (FAMU), a historically black college. The complaint alleges that the state has violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the Supreme Court's 1992 ruling in U.S. v. Fordice by not providing sufficient funding to FAMU. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the state has not made sufficient improvements to FAMU's facilities, and has unnecessarily duplicated FAMU's unique programs at white institutions, like Florida State University. This has made it difficult for FAMU to retain faculty and students.

HBCUs in Florida are at a disadvantage when it comes to state funding, yet they are often treated as an afterthought by policymakers. This needs to change. HBCUs play an important role in providing higher education opportunities for black students, and they should be treated fairly when it comes to state funding. It's time for Florida to step up and provide the resources these schools need to thrive.