Federal Court Strikes Down Non-State Travel Funding Ban

Published: September 3rd, 2008

Category: Memos

Jamie Lewis Keith, Vice President and General Counsel

A federal court in Florida has held that two Florida statutes (1011.90(6) and 112.061(3)(e)) are unconstitutional and unenforceable to the extent that they ban the use of non-state funds by state universities for travel to terrorist countries. The U.S. state department’s current list of state sponsors of terrorism includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, but the list is subject to change.

The federal court held that state universities may use private (e.g., foundation, donor) and federal funds for travel to terrorist states–as long as the federal government allows such travel. Also, we may use the nominal state resources necessary (such as employee time) to apply for federal travel licenses, to arrange travel and to administer non-state funds for such purposes. The court clarified that the Florida statutes only govern funding for travel and travel-related activities, but not teaching, research, and other activities involving terrorist states.

State universities must continue to refrain from using state funds for such travel and related activities.

Strict federal licensing and trade sanction regulations still heavily regulate, restrict, and sometimes prohibit travel to terrorist countries, and may also prohibit contracting and other interactions with such countries. Contact the Division of Sponsored Research at (352) 392-3516 or the General Counsel’s Office at (352) 392-1358 for assistance.

For more information, please refer to the summary on the General Counsel’s web page at www.generalcounsel.ufl.edu . We will inform the University community if there are any further developments.

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