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Gov. Ron DeSantis says pro-Palestinian protesters 'just spouting nonsense'

'Some of these elite institutions around the country, are they just graduating a bunch of imbeciles?' DeSantis says
Posted at 2:08 PM, May 08, 2024

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis was at the University of Florida on Wednesday morning where he had some tough words for pro-Palestinian protesters.

The governor said there was an attempt last week to set up a protest encampment at the campus quad, similar to what has occurred at various colleges across the U.S. over the past few weeks.

"Well, we don't do that here in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "They did have an encampment, and it lasted about a few minutes."

The governor thanked university officials across the state for curbing protests.

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"You do not have a right to commandeer property. You don't have a right to go take over parts of the university," DeSantis said. "You don't have a right to go after other students based on their ethnicity. We're going to ensure that's upheld."

The governor, a Yale undergrad and Harvard Law School graduate, took the opportunity to take a shot at administrators at "a lot of elite colleges and universities."

"They have allowed themselves to become overrun with encampments, graffiti, as well as a lot of really nasty antisemitism," DeSantis said.

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He said many protesters lacked historical perspective on the situation and were "just spouting nonsense" and "don't know what they're talking about."

"It's very concerning. Some of these elite institutions around the country, are they just graduating a bunch of imbeciles?" DeSantis said. "I think, unfortunately, that's the case."

During Wednesday's news conference, the governor also said his administration will support an additional $20 million to support safety at Jewish Day Schools in the upcoming budget.

In addition, DeSantis said he will soon approve nearly $570 million for K-12 student safety funding in next year's budget. He said he would also approve an additional $20 million to increase security and infrastructure at Florida's historically Black colleges.

The governor mentioned that he recently signed House Bill 1473, which works to improve school safety at schools across Florida.