The lawsuit, filed on behalf of six students, argues the state pours more money into traditionally white institutions like Florida State University but won’t do the same for HBCUs, according to the Washington Post.
“There is a vast difference between the two universities in the city of Tallahassee,” said Britney Denton, a doctoral student at FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a plaintiff in the case. “If you go to the north side, you’ll see the magnificent sports facilities and amazing housing. But when you get to the south side where the HBCU is, it’s a different world because we aren’t given the same resources.”
The complaints claim there has been a deliberate effort by the state to undermine FAMU’s competitiveness by letting other public colleges duplicate programs.
The students in the suit are asking the court to appoint a mediator to recommend solutions to address the inequities. They also want the mediator to force the state to commit to complete parity in its support of public universities within five years.
“We drilled into the numbers and the obligations to fund the school at parity, and not only is that not the case currently, but it’s also not been the case for quite some time historically,” said Barbara Hart, one of the attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer representing the students. “It’s the kind of issue that compounds problems over time in terms of recruitment, prestige and research.”