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Blurred View of Teacher Instructing a Class of Students
Press Statement March 11, 2024

NAACP Urges Student Athletes to Reconsider PWI Universities in Florida Amidst Dismantling of DEI

Blurred View of Teacher Instructing a Class of Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 11, 2024

Contact: Alicia Mercedes, amercedes@naacpnet.org 

WASHINGTON — Today, the NAACP sent a letter to current and prospective members of the NCAA, calling for Black student athletes to reconsider their decisions to attend public colleges and universities in Florida. The letter comes following recent news that the University of Florida had dismantled its DEI department at the direction of  the DeSantis administration's Stop WOKE Act. The bill, which was passed last year, prohibits the use of state funds for any diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. While the University of Florida has been the first to follow the directive, Florida is home to some of the nation's largest public universities, many of whom rely on Black talent recruited to their athletics programs.  

NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson shared the following statement:

"Florida's rampant anti-Black policies are a direct threat to the advancement of our young people and their ability to compete in a global economy. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount ensuring equitable and effective educational outcomes. The value Black, and other college athletes bring to large universities is unmatched. If these institutions are unable to completely invest in those athletes, it's time they take their talents elsewhere. The NAACP will remain unwavering in our efforts to hold Governor Ron DeSantis, and all oppressive elected officials accountable for their attempts to unravel our democracy." 

Excerpts from the letter include:

  • "Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made no effort to conceal his administration's devaluation of Black America."
  • "This imbalance of power and profit demands a response, particularly because these institutions reap considerable financial benefits from the very individuals they fail to stand by in matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion."
  • "…it's up to each individual — and to the broader community — to hold these institutions accountable."

"Black America continues to drive the growth and prosperity of American culture — particularly in our educational institutions. Our contributions must be recognized," said Dr. Ashley L. White, Education Fellow at the NAACP. "Colleges seeking to benefit from Black talent must invest in the education of all Black students without question. Promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and access across colleges and universities is paramount in cultivating excellence. The NAACP will continue to advocate on behalf of all Black students and fight for a future where the realization of equitable education prevails." 

To learn more about NAACP's work to create equitable educational outcomes, visit our website.

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About NAACP

The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

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