DeSantis signs bill banning FL public universities from entering 'partnership or agreement' with China
Under a new law, Florida public colleges and universities will not be able to accept any grant from or enter into any 'partnership or agreement' with China or any other 'foreign country of concern' without permission.
This law follows warnings from former United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that Chinese money is 'flooding into American higher education.'
Under a new law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida public colleges and universities will not be able to accept any grant from or enter into any “partnership or agreement” with China or any other “foreign country of concern” without permission.
The bill, S.B. 846, defines a “partnership” as a “faculty or student exchange program, a study abroad program, an articulation program, a recruiting program, or a dual degree program” and an “agreement” as a “written statement of mutual interest in academic or research collaboration.”
Other “countries of concern” include Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela.
To conduct business with one of the nations in question, colleges and universities must prove to the State Board of Education that “ such partnership or agreement is … valuable to students and the state college and … not detrimental to the safety or security of the United States or its residents,” the bill reads.
Funds may be withdrawn from colleges and universities that do not follow this law and “deposited into the General Revenue fund.”
“The law, which begins taking effect July 1, also dictates that Florida’s two higher ed systems provide lawmakers and the governor a summary of grant programs, agreements or contracts with foreign entities by December 2024,” according to Higher Ed Dive.
This report must include “[d]ata reflecting any grant program, agreement, partnership, or contract between a state university or state college and any college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal,” the bill states.
It further calls for, “[d]ata reflecting any office, campus, or physical location used or maintained by a state university or state college in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal,” and “(the) date on which any such grant program, agreement, partnership, or contract.”
This law follows warnings from former United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that Chinese money is “flooding into American higher education” as well as several other warnings by Rep. Dr. Virginia Foxx, who reopened Trump-era investigations into the funding.
Funding is not the only concern, however.
As reported by Campus Reform in December of 2022, Auburn University banned TikTok on university devices due to “concerns that TikTok’s parent company is collecting user data for espionage and curating content to present China more favorably.”
The law in Flordia attempts to prevent further influence of China in U.S. higher education.
Campus Reform has reached out to all individuals and entities mentioned for comment and will update accordingly.