Follow up: Save Academic Freedom @UF Virtual Press Conference – UF faculty union steps forward to defend academic freedom
The United Faculty of Florida at the University of Florida (UFF-UF) today issued a list of demands and a call to action focused on defending academic freedom and free speech at the University of Florida (UF) and at all public institutions of higher education.
UFF-UF’s actions follow on the university’s recent move to deny permission to three professors to testify as expert witnesses in a lawsuit challenging a new Florida law restricting voting rights, and numerous other professors continue to come forward with stories of repression of their expertise. News conference speakers also addressed the much broader assault taking place on academic freedom and faculty and student rights at Florida’s public institutions of higher education, including the new “viewpoint discrimination” law (HB 233).
Earlier this week, Rep. Yvonne Hinson and Sen. Tina Polsky filed HB 6077 and SB 810, known as the “Intellectual Freedom” bills. The United Faculty of Florida unequivocally supports this effort to repeal HB 233, Florida’s “Viewpoint Discrimination” law, passed in the 2021 legislative session. We are asking our members and the public to contact their local legislators and urge them to vote in support of these bills.
An abbreviated list of UFF-UF demands to UF is pasted below as an image and attached as a PDF.
Find the full UFF-UF preamble and demands HERE
Shortly after our news conference, UF President Kent Fuchs stated “I have also asked UF’s Conflicts of Interest Office to reverse the decisions on recent requests by UF employees to serve as expert witnesses in litigation in which the state of Florida is a party and to approve the requests regardless of personal compensation, assuming the activity is on their own time without using university resources.”
For a Facebook Live recording that includes the question-and-answer session at the news conference, go here: https://www.facebook.com/UnitedFacultyofFlorida
Speaking at today’s press conference event were:
- Paul Ortiz, UFF-UF president, professor of history
and director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
- Meera Sitharam, UFF-UF vice president, professor of computer
science and engineering (written remarks here)
- Brian Cahill, senior lecturer in psychology
- Charles Karcher, undergraduate student
- Andrew Gothard, UFF statewide president, English lecturer
at Florida Atlantic University (written remarks here)