In an interview conducted over the weekend, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated that the state’s decision to force public universities to decertify student organizations that showed support for Hamas had less to do with the First Amendment than it did with breaking laws pertaining to the provision of material support to terrorist organizations.
DeSantis gave the chancellor of the State University System of Florida, Ray Rodrigues, instructions to notify the University of Florida and the University of South Florida to deactivate their SJP chapters because they allegedly violated Florida’s anti-terrorism laws.
In an interview with Kristen Welker for NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” DeSantis was questioned if decertifying the groups amounted to “cancel culture.”
“This is not cancel culture. This group, they themselves said in the aftermath of the Hamas attack, that they don’t just stand in solidarity that they are part of this Hamas movement. And so you have a right to go out and demonstrate, but you can’t provide material support to terrorism. They’ve linked themselves to Hamas. And so we absolutely decertified them, they should not get one red cent of taxpayer dollars.” DeSantis said.
“And we also have strong laws in Florida against fundraising for groups like Hamas, and we are enforcing those vigorously,” he added. “It’s not a First Amendment issue. That’s a material support to terrorism issue.” he continued.
“Their own words are saying they’re part of this organization, that they don’t just stand in solidarity, that they don’t just support what they did, but that this is their movement, too. So once you hitch your wagon to a group like Hamas, that takes you out of the realm of normal activity, and that’s something that we’re going to take action against. So we believe we’re totally justified within the law.”he concluded.