Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) told hundreds of Florida A&M University students marching at the governor's mansion, protesting his decision to call for the suspension of the president of the state's largest historically black college Thursday that he came "from public housing."
The Florida Courier reported that a student asked a question about educational funding. Scott began, "I come from public housing," to which one student replied, "Not all of us are poor!" The crowd did not allow him to finish.
Scott's official biography mentions that "at times the family struggled financially, and when Rick started public school, they lived in public housing."
Scott called for FAMU President James Ammons to step aside amid several investigations into the death of drum major Robert Champion. He died following a football game in what police say is an incident involving hazing. The governor is responsible for selecting some on the university's board of trustees and most of the people who oversee the state university system. The board voted to publicly reprimand Ammons, but not to suspend him.
At a luncheon with black lawmakers last February, Scott suggested that all black lawmakers grew up poor. "I grew up probably in the same situation as you guys," he said to the group of Democratic lawmakers. "I started school in public housing. My dad had a sixth-grade education." During the luncheon, lawmakers voiced opposition to Scott's plan to end support for two private historically black colleges, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
Correction: This story originally quoted Rick Scott as saying that he came "from public housing too." The Florida Courier, however, quoted Scott as saying simply that he came "from public housing." We regret the error.