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Florida governor proposes college 'bill of rights' to party

The bill would come in the wake of crackdowns at college campuses for parties and other social gatherings that some blame for a surge in coronavirus infections.
Credit: AP
College age spring break students party on the beach, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Fla. As a response to the coronavirus pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all bars be shut down for 30 days beginning at 5 p.m. and many Florida beaches are turning away spring break crowds urging them to engage in social distancing. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis says he would establish a “students bill of rights” in the wake of crackdowns on college parties and other campus social gatherings that some blame for a surge in coronavirus infections.

“I understand the universities are trying to do the right thing, but I personally think it’s incredibly draconian that a student would get potentially expelled for going to a party," Desantis said. "That’s what college kids do.”

His reasoning for the bill? DeSantis said college students are at low risk for COVID-19 and that, at this time, we need to be reasonable and focus efforts where the most significant risk lies. 

DeSantis wants campuses functioning with students back. He gave credit to Florida colleges and universities on all fronts for their work during the pandemic, especially when compared with colleges in other parts of the nation.

“They have not gone way overboard in the ways some of these others throughout the country," the governor said. "I mean some of these stories are just absolutely horrible and just if I were a parent, to have a student treated the way some of those colleges in other parts of the country have treated them, I’d be none too happy on that.”

At the roundtable at the Capitol on Thursday, the Republican governor also said he would seize authority from local governments to prevent further restaurant closures, saying there's little evidence that closures have helped slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

During a virtual round table the governor hosted from the Capitol, a panel of experts questioned some of the measures put in place to help control the spread of the virus. 

RELATED: Gov. DeSantis plans to ease restaurant restrictions, may override local rules

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