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DeSantis announces lawsuit against Biden administration over higher education accreditation

'We reject the idea that a totally unaccountable, unappointed, unelected accrediting agency can trump what the state of Florida is doing,' governor says
Posted at 10:32 AM, Jun 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-22 11:01:08-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a lawsuit against President Joe Biden's administration over higher education accreditation on Thursday morning.

DeSantis made the announcement at Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City, alongside Attorney General Ashley Moody, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. and State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues.

The governor said accreditation agencies "believe they know better than the people of Florida. They believe that Florida should potentially lose student aid as a result of making these types of reforms."

DeSantis was referring to recent changes to higher education, including a bill to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at all state universities, which he previously called a "distraction from the core mission."

He said the Biden administration is seeking to "crackdown" on the state of Florida over the recent higher education changes.

"We reject the idea that a totally unaccountable, unappointed, unelected accrediting agency can trump what the state of Florida is doing," DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he believes it violates the federal constitution to allow these agencies to have the power they do.

In Florida, the accreditor for higher education is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In addition to Florida, SACS serves as the accrediting agency for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.