On Thursday, students at Florida A&M University seeking to sue the state over alleged underfunding and discriminatory practices met with a federal judge in the case’s first hearing.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle rejected a motion to dismiss by Attorney General Ashley Moody and gave the six FAMU students 30 days to amend their complaint to provide more data in support of their allegations. 

Represented by Miami civil rights attorney Josh Dubin and the New York firm of Grant & Eisenhofer, the students allege FAMU has been historically underfunded compared to predominantly white institutions. The students are suing the state for $1.3 billion, which is how much they claim FAMU has been underfunded compared to the University of Florida.

The plaintiffs are four undergraduates and two postgraduates who are asking the state of Florida to commit to giving equal support for HBCUs and traditionally white institutions within five years, according to WCTV.com.

“We do deserve to be treated equally as those students that are literally across the tracks from us. It’s not fair that we aren’t able to get the same opportunities. We aren’t allowed to get the same amount of money. We aren’t allowed the same education in the same city as another school that has every opportunity in the world.” said FAMU student and plaintiff Brittney Denton.

In court documents, their attorneys argue a funding disparity prevents the school from offering high-demand programs that would bring in new students and faculty, as well as prevented the university from properly maintaining the campus.  

“The importance of this case not only resides in the disparity of the money, but just in understanding that history is repeating itself and it’s affecting us now,” Nyabi Stevens, plaintiff and FAMU junior psychology major told the Tallahassee Democrat.

 “The only way to change the ways of the past and influence the future is by doing this work. We’re here doing what we need to do as students and as representatives of African Americans across the nation,” Stevens added.