As a result of discriminatory acts against blacks who attended the Black College Reunion ’99, Florida A&M University has $250,000 more to give away to its students for scholarships and internships.
State Attorney General Bob Butterworth presented FAMU Interim President Henry Lewis III with a $250,000 check at a March 4 press conference. The money came from a $1 million settlement against Adams Mark Daytona Beach Resort.
The hotel was charged with violating the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
During the BCR ’99, an event where African-American students go to Daytona Beach to party in April for spring break, the hotel discriminated against blacks.
The guests were denied the opportunity to rent higher quality rooms and were denied the same access to parking facilities and other services that whites were allowed to use, Butterworth said.
The hotel management removed pictures and furniture from its lobby before guests arrived, he added. Guests had to wear orange color-coded wristbands to gain entry on the hotel property.
The hotel had undisclosed charges for telephone calls and movies. Butterworth said these charges are not present during the Daytona 500 or Bike Week.
“They treated African-Americans differently from anybody else,” Butterworth said. “This behavior is unacceptable in the State of Florida.”
The hotel also agreed to change its policy [diversify its management] to help prevent discrimination in the future.
State Representative Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said Adams Mark needs to increase its board make-up.
“There should be diversity at Adams Mark. There needs to be more African-Americans in management,” she said.
“We’ve got to bring the people in so there can be diversity,” Joyner added.
Butterwoth said the money obtained from the suit should be used to help boost the presence of minorities in the administrative offices in the hospitality industry.
In that suit $400,000 went to the guests who stayed there April 9-10, 1999. There were roughly 1,200 guests, Butterworth said. Each guest will receive up to $1,000.
Bethune-Cookman College will receive $150,000 while Florida Memorial College and Edward Waters College will receive up to $100,000 each, as well.