A Florida law that opponents say threatens the future of Black Greek-letter life on college campuses also poses concerns for campus organizations that serve Black students.
Tallahassee station WFSU reports that Black Male Achievers at Tallahassee Community College might have to change its name if it wants to continue receiving state and federal funding under the new law.
The measure blocks government funding for student-led organizations that “advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion” and other social and political causes. Those organizations are allowed to receive funding only from student activity fees.
BET.com reported previously on how Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ anti-diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts could also harm Black sororities and fraternities.
Tyler Soto, a Black Male Achievers member at Tallahassee Community College, told WFSU that the organization is brainstorming new names, such as "Male Achievers" or "Scholar Male Achievers."
"We’re going to have to change the name of our organization or they’re going to defund it because it has 'Black' in front of it," he explained.
NBC Miami reported in May that DeSantis signed Senate Bill 266 into law on May 15 and it was expected to go into effect in July, as part of his political crusade to stamp out what the presidential candidate calls “woke” ideology.
‘‘This has basically been used as a veneer to impose an ideological agenda and that is wrong," DeSantis said, according to NBC Miami. "In fact, if you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination, and that has no place in our public institutions."
In March, Florida state Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson, a Gainesville Democrat, told BET.com that vague language in the measure could threaten the activities of Black Greek-lettered organizations.
Black sororities and fraternities have a long history of promoting diversity, equality and inclusion. While the language doesn't explicitly ban Divine Nine organizations, it doesn’t explicitly protect them.
Although most Black Greek-lettered organizations are largely student-funded, colleges often provide space and even food for campus activities pro bono.
“I just don't know to what depth this is going to cut into the activities that they normally have on campus,” Hinson, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha said, adding that she’s also concerned about “a chilling effect” that the measure could have on faculty advisors.
“What is going to happen now? And how will they get faculty advisors to be willing to participate anymore when they're being intimidated by all of this?” asked Hinson, a former educator.