Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Signs Law School Bill

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Signs Law School Bill

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill last month creating new law schools at Florida A&M University and Florida International University in a bid to open up the legal profession to more minorities.

"We've got enough lawyers, the problem is we don't have enough African American and Hispanic lawyers," Bush said after signing the bill on the Florida A&M campus.

Bush signed the bill on a stage at FAMU, flanked by a coalition of Black and Cuban American lawmakers who pushed for the new schools.

In the past, the two caucuses have been at odds, with Cuban American lawmakers wanting a school at Florida International in Miami and Black lawmakers fighting for the FAMU school.

As recently as last year, supporters from each university went to the Board of Regents, which oversees the state university system, seeking a law school. The board rejected the schools as unnecessary and too expensive.

But the Legislature had the ultimate say, and this year, with many lawmakers who had long sought one law school or the other leaving office because of term limits, the two groups cooperated on a bill calling for two new schools (see Black Issues, May 25).

For Florida A&M, the bill also was intended to right a historic wrong, returning to the school a law program that was taken away in 1968 when the mostly White university across town, Florida State, was granted a law school. …

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