Inside Higher Ed (2/7/23): What Happens in Florida… Governor DeSantis is leading an assault on the state’s public higher education institutions, Andrew Gothard writes. As those of us in higher education know well, colleges and universities are a public good vital to our communities and our democracy. In Florida, industry, technology, business and the arts from the Gulf Coast to the Space Coast all rely on higher education to remain globally competitive, as they have for decades. Yet DeSantis and his team have made systematic efforts to dismantle the freedoms of students and faculty to teach and learn at the cutting edge of all fields.
The Florida Times Union-Jacksonville (1/29/23): UNF professors: Proposed regulations threaten quality of higher education in Florida Obtaining tenure is not an easy task. It requires dedication and hard work to meet the research publishing guidelines set by each higher education system, to maintain a high standard of teaching and to be involved in service opportunities both through the university and within the community or faculty’s professional interests.
The Independent Alligator (1/25/23): The future of ideological diversity at UF Universities should give students tools to understand our complex, contradictory society. This means learning about those who are radically different from us, confronting unpleasant realities, and questioning things we took for granted.
Sun Sentinel (1/25/23): Campuses under relentless conservative attack | Letters to the editor – Sun Sentinel
Higher Ed Dive (1/24/23): Florida university system won’t vote on tenure policy this week after drawing 1,300-plus comments A Florida university system policy that would evaluate tenured faculty members every five years and was chugging toward governing board approval will not receive a vote this week after drawing more than 1,300 public comments. United Faculty of Florida, a professor union, devised a campaign against the policy, including a template for submitting a public comment.
Florida Phoenix (1/24/23): FL’s higher ed system faces a mountain of contentious changes under DeSantis; here’s a rundown Gov. Ron DeSantis regularly touts the top-ranking status of Florida’s higher education system, but over the past year, his administration has micromanaged and implemented a barrage of fundamental changes that have impacted how the state’s universities and community colleges function.
Tallahasee Democrat (1/18/23): Don’t mess with state university success | Opinion Our colleges and universities should be a source of pride for Floridians. Their quality and rankings should not be jeopardized to support a political agenda. We urge the BOG to take a hard look at the ramifications of their proposal and either dismiss it or rewrite it in a way that inoculates it from the politics of the moment. That’s not only good policy—it’s good business.
Orlando Weekly (1/19/23): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ war on ‘woke ideology’ in higher education threatens academic freedom “I am disheartened to witness our state college presidents bend over backwards and ignore principles of academic freedom and free expression which is the foundation of the modern college system,” Robert Cassanello, a professor of history at the University of Central Florida and a plaintiff in the first legal case against the so-called “Stop WOKE” Act, told Orlando Weekly.
ABC News (1/18/23): Some educators slam DeSantis’ war on ‘woke’ in education Taylor is the co-president of the Graduate Assistants United at the University of Florida and a member of a DEI committee at the school. “Why don’t you want your base to become educated?” Taylor said. “Why don’t you want your citizens to have the best access to the best schools in the world?”
Tallahassee Democrat (1/18/23): Don’t mess with state university success | Opinion Our colleges and universities should be a source of pride for Floridians. Their quality and rankings should not be jeopardized to support a political agenda. We urge the BOG to take a hard look at the ramifications of their proposal and either dismiss it or rewrite it in a way that inoculates it from the politics of the moment. That’s not only good policy—it’s good business. We owe that to our students and to the taxpayers.
Florida Phoenix (1/17/23): Day 6 of federal trial: UCLA prof says college survey “asks students to tattletale” on instructors “It’s one of the worst surveys I’ve seen,” Sylvia Hurtado told the court. The UCLA education professor virtually attended the hearing at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee.
CBS News 12 (1/17/23): Federal judge clears Florida of violating Stop WOKE order “Colleges are the place for students to explore new ideas and ways of looking at the world – and politics shouldn’t be a part of that,” said Gothard.
Tampa Bay Times (1/14/23): With New College gambit, DeSantis aims to ‘recapture higher education’ “The alternative they’re positing is actually what they’re projecting us as being,” she said. “They want to create a conservative, dogmatized education where only that thought process is accepted … They don’t want people to learn things that are critical of the state or America, or just critical thinking in general. This is just the beginning. If they succeed, they’ll be emboldened to try this everywhere. They’ll try this at Florida State University or the University of Florida.”
Tampa Bay Times (1/14/23): DeSantis admin didn’t violate order putting ‘Stop Woke’ law on hold, judge rules But plaintiffs, who include the United Faculty of Florida union and individual teachers and students, contend the surveys have the effect of chilling classroom speech.
WUSF (1/13/23): Gov. DeSantis targets ‘trendy ideologies’ at Florida universities | WUSF Public Media ANDREW GOTHARD: The examples that I’ve seen of why New College is progressive is because a lot of their language says that they are interested in equality and making sure that students and faculty, no matter their background, their gender orientation, their sexuality, their race, have an equal shot at higher education. That doesn’t sound to me like progressive. That sounds to me like the American ideal.
WFLA (1/13/23): Friday marks deadline for DeSantis-ordered CRT, DEI school funding report | WFLA Gothard is president of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF), the union that represents faculty members at Florida’s public colleges and universities. He said it’s unclear what the governor plans to do with this information. He called the request vague, claiming it doesn’t distinguish between a CRT course or program that helps veterans get jobs. “All of these fall under the broad umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Gothard said, “and then, they’re going to cut that funding for political reasons.”
Public News Service (1/13/23): Higher Ed Braces for DeSantis Attacks on Unions Trendy Ideology / Public News Service Matthew Lata, Florida State University chapter president for United Faculty of Florida, said he thinks the governor is following a conservative trend to gain political points, regardless of the outcome or legal challenges. “And they are jumping feet first into this without having thought of what the consequences are,” Lata observed. “If you remove offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, if you stop all of those efforts, you will lose federal grants; and we’re talking about not millions but up into the billions, statewide.”
WUSF (1/13/23): Florida is cleared of violating a court order over the ‘Stop WOKE Act’ | WUSF Public Media Professors and students from state universities challenged the law in a pair of lawsuits, arguing that it has created confusion for faculty and is an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendment rights.
Florida Phoenix (1/13/23): Day 5 of trial testimony: FL higher ed instructors say 2021 law ended up limiting class discussions Robin Goodman is an English professor at Florida State University and is a plaintiff in the case. She said that a 2021 law was meant to expose students to diverse political viewpoints but actually limited her lectures due to unclear language in the measure. “The language of the law is so vague and confusing, I wouldn’t know how to follow it,” Goodman said Friday, at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida located in Tallahassee.
Fox 35 Orlando (1/13/23): State cleared of violating education court order on race-related concepts in classroom
CBS Miami (1/13/23): Florida cleared of violating ‘Stop Woke’ court order – CBS Miami
WCJB Gainesville (1/13/23): Federal judge considers constitutionality of campus survey requirements
Orlando Sentinel (1/12/23): Ending faculty tenure track is a solution without a problem |Commentary History shows that knowledge must be protected; powerful people often consider it threatening and try to silence it. We cannot allow that to happen if we value knowledge as opposed to propaganda and pseudo-science.
Bay News 9 (1/12/23): DeSantis tested on immigration as he weighs 2024 candidacy “Is he willing to just burn an institution to the ground and harm the community just to score cheap political points?” asked Andrew Gothard, president of the union United Faculty of Florida.
Florida Phoenix (1/12/23): Day 4 of trial testimony: University teacher feels that recording lectures is ‘creepy,’ ‘invasive’ An associate lecturer from the University of Central Florida criticized a Florida law that allows students to record lectures without permission of the instructor, saying that it makes him feel he’s a “criminal under suspicion.”
Fox 13 Tampa (1/12/23): Gov. DeSantis tested on immigration as he weighs 2024 presidential run
Miami Times (1/11/23): DeSantis demands worry professors and ACLU lawyers | Florida News | miamitimesonline.com “We’re … sort of baffled by the way the memorandum is put together,” said Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF). “How do you even determine if a class or a faculty member or program is a DEI or CRT initiative, right?”
Florida Phoenix (1/11/23): Day 3 of testimony in trial: Surveys could be used to penalize left leaning profs and universities He believes that the recording provision “will lead to self-censorship and chill speech,” as instructors and students never know when someone else is recording in the classroom discussion.
Inside Higher Ed (1/11/23): DeSantis seeks to overhaul small liberal arts college Steve Shipman, a chemistry professor and president of the NCF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, said the new trustee appointments were initially met with shock that has since turned to uncertainty. One area of concern Shipman highlighted is the gender studies program at NCF. Given critical statements from new trustees—particularly Rufo—about gender studies, Shipman said some employees are worried the department may be targeted. Shipman described critiques of NCF as a wayward liberal institution as a “caricature” that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
New Republic (1/10/23): Is Campus Free Speech Really Dead? Everyone believes the senator from Nebraska will plant the Republicans’ ideological agenda deeper into the campus. “I don’t think anyone is under any illusion that this is not a political hire,” said Candi Churchill, executive director of the United Faculty of Florida, which represents more than 25,000 public university faculty in the state. Churchill and faculty I spoke with expect Sasse to, at the very least, support statutorily mandated tenure reviews, and probably not try to fight Republican speech restrictions that the union and individual faculty are battling in court.
Florida Phoenix (1/10/23): Day 2 of federal lawsuit: Recording lectures in a higher ed class could get adversarial The plaintiffs challenging the law are a handful of Florida university faculty as well as the United Faculty of Florida, a statewide university faculty union.
The Capitolist (1/10/23): College campus “intellectual freedom surveys” under fire in court | The Capitolist The plaintiffs, including the United Faculty of Florida union and individual teachers and students, are challenging three parts of the law (HB 233). The first day of the trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker focused heavily on a requirement that colleges and universities conduct the surveys]
Flagler Live (1/10/23): Surveillance Recordings of Faculty Called ‘Poison’ In Challenge to Florida’s Restrictive Education Law The United Faculty of Florida union and individual professors and students challenged the constitutionality of the law, contending it has a chilling effect on classroom speech. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker began hearing testimony Monday.
WMNF (1/10/23): New College alumni and UFF push back after DeSantis appoints 6 Trustees – WMNF When you appoint people to these kinds of roles, who are clearly only politically and ideologically motivated, but really don’t have the experience when it comes down to building strong programs and maintaining a healthy institution. You hear ideas like this that sound good in propaganda or sound good on a campaign poster but don’t actually make any sense when it comes to serving the interests and the needs of students who need to be competitive in a national and international job market. So, we’re going to be interested to see what happens and I can tell you one thing if they take even one step to harm the students or the communities or the faculty and staff of New College of Florida you better believe the United Faculty of Florida are going to be right there to oppose them. Because our interests are to protect higher education not to push somebody’s political propaganda.
New York Times (1/9/23): DeSantis Allies Plot the Hostile Takeover of a Liberal College Steve Shipman, a professor of physical chemistry and president of the faculty union, points out that tenured professors are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which makes it hard to fire them unless there’s cause. People like Rufo “are making statements to make impact,” Shipman said. “And I really don’t know how viable some of those statements are on the ground.”
The Americano (1/9/23): DeSantis Moves to Turn New College of Florida Into a Far-Right Conservative Institution “While students are required to learn lots of different ideas…that doesn’t mean they have to agree or make those ideas a part of their core identity,” said Gothard in response to those who believe that colleges and universities are indoctrinating students.
Florida Phoenix (1/9/23): FL faculty, ACLU lawyers, disturbed over latest barrage on ‘critical race theory’ in higher ed – Florida Phoenix “It is a continuation of the same sort of blatant suppression of free speech that we’ve seen from this governor and this legislation, this administration, since last year, even before,” Blankenship said. “So we’re not surprised, but we are deeply disturbed…We think this furthers the effect of chilling for college professors.”
The Independent Florida Alligator (1/9/23): UF pursues new accreditor – The Independent Florida Alligator But UFF-UF Vice President Meera Sitharam sees accreditation as a long-term process during which a university repeatedly self-evaluates and makes changes to improve its quality, she said.“It’s not like somebody coming and giving you a golden seal of approval,” Sitharam said. “It’s like a feedback cycle. You do something, you see what the effect of that is and then you change it.”
Bay News 9 (1/9/23): Historic House Speaker Vote
Fortune (1/8/23): Professor tenure targeted by conservatives over race, gender teachings | Fortune “They’ve latched onto the idea that many totalitarian regimes have done over the years, which is if you can stop students from learning about ideas that a political party in power disagrees with, that is one way to stop those ideas from existing in the society at all,” said Andrew Gothard, president of United Faculty of Florida.
WUSF (1/7/23): DeSantis’ six conservative picks for New College board could remake school | WUSF Public Media “Promises to upend programs with ideologically driven claims that could not be farther from the truth of what actually occurs in a higher education classroom — these do nothing to improve New College, nor will they draw interested students to a campus where trustees are so at odds with the faculty, the local administration and the truth,” Gothard said.
Orlando Weekly (1/6/23): United Faculty of Florida union pushes back on DeSantis’ latest battle against diversity initiatives “Attempts such as these by the governor to chill speech and to intimidate those he disagrees with into remaining silent, altering their curriculum, and silencing their students are an affront to democracy and the American way of life,” Gothard, who is a professor at Florida Atlantic University, said in a statement to the News Service of Florida.
BET (1/6/23): Florida Governor Insists State Universities and Colleges Prove They’re Not Promoting “Trendy Ideology” On Campus | News | BET Gothard, an English professor at Florida Atlantic University further warned, “Let those who supported Governor DeSantis in the recent election heed this warning: A man who will silence those whom he disagrees — in the classroom and beyond — will one day find a reason to silence you as well.”
NWF Daily News (1/6/23): DeSantis seeks to transform Sarasota’s New College with conservative board takeover New College routinely ranks well on higher education “best of” lists, having been singled out as a good value and among the best public liberal arts colleges. It is known for attracting accomplished students to an intimate setting that blends academic rigor and quirky experimentalism.
WUSF (1/6/23): DeSantis requests diversity and equity info from Florida colleges and universities | WUSF Public Media The president of the United Faculty of Florida says the request is an attempt at further silencing viewpoints with which he doesn’t agree.
ABC 7 (1/6/23): DeSantis picks could lead to New College changes
WFSU (1/5/23): DeSantis asks for information on DEI, CRT programs at Florida’s public colleges and universities | WFSU News “While students are required to learn lots of different ideas…that doesn’t mean they have to agree or make those ideas a part of their core identity,” said Gothard in response to beliefs that colleges and universities are indoctrinating students.
WCJB Gainesville (1/5/23): UF Faculty Senate chair: DeSantis administration directive sends ‘chilling message’ After the memo became public this week, United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard called the request an attempt to “outlaw ideas” that DeSantis disagrees with.
CBS12 (1/5/23): Gov. DeSantis asks state public universities to report DEI and CRT programs and activities | WPEC Florida Atlantic University professor Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, believes this effort is intended to scare professors away from teaching certain subject matter. “That’s fundamentally anti-democratic. It’s anti-American. Right. Every idea should have an opportunity to be discussed, debated, and explored on a higher education campus. And that right should not be abridged, simply because governor DeSantis has decided that he doesn’t like some ideas versus others,” said Gothard.
CBS Miami (1/4/23): Gov. DeSantis picks could lead to new college changes – CBS Miami “Promises to upend programs with ideologically driven claims that could not be farther from the truth of what actually occurs in a higher education classroom – these do nothing to improve New College, nor will they draw interested students to a campus where trustees are so at odds with the faculty, the local administration and the truth,” Gothard said.
WUSF (1/4/23): DeSantis to scrutinize diversity, equity and inclusion programs in higher education | WUSF Public Media “In the so-called free state of Florida under Gov. DeSantis, the freedom to run DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) programs at public colleges and universities appears next on the radar for destruction. Nothing is safe and it’s sickening,” Nixon tweeted.
UNF Spinnaker (1/4/23): DeSantis shakes up public universities, ramps up his war on ‘woke’ – UNF Spinnaker “UFF-UNF was alarmed to hear about this request,” UFF-UNF President Elizabeth Brown wrote to Spinnaker. “We are especially concerned about the potential chill this type of request could have on instruction at the university, especially as it relates to the ongoing attack on academic freedom (stemming from HB7, which was recently put on stay) and the pending post-tenure review policy by the Board of Governors.”
Panama City News Herald (1/4/23): DeSantis targets funding of diversity programs at Florida colleges, universities Sitharam had some hunches on how the DeSantis Administration would use the information. At best, she said, it would be included in the state’s response to Walker’s ruling. At worst, it’s a “direct attempt at smothering academic freedom via state purse-strings,” she said.
Orlando Sentinel (1/4/23): DeSantis asks universities about CRT and diversity, drawing fire – Orlando Sentinel
Sarasota Herald Tribune (1/4/23): DeSantis wants to know how much Florida colleges spend on ‘trendy ideology’
CBS Miami (1/4/23): Gov. Ron DeSantis to scrutinize higher ed programs – CBS Miami
Tallahassee Democrat (1/4/23): DeSantis wants to know how much Florida colleges spend on ‘trendy ideology’
Propublica (1/3/23): Muzzled by DeSantis, Critical Race Theory Professors Cancel Courses or Modify Their Teaching Some tenured professors in Florida have resisted anti-CRT pressure. The historian Robert Cassanello, the president of the UCF chapter of United Faculty of Florida, was comfortable becoming a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits contending that the Individual Freedom Act violates free speech.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (1/3/23): A Florida University Is Quickly Assembling a List of Courses on Diversity. Why? DeSantis Asked.
Sarasota Herald Tribune (12/29/22): Date set to challenge ‘diversity’ law So what is the purpose of the law if not to intimidate teachers in their classrooms? Surely our state has more than enough problems the Legislature could address: red tide, pollution of our springs, climate change and the highest home insurance prices in the country, to name just a few. Why isn’t the Legislature working on solving these problems?
Creative Loafing Tampa (12/21/22): Federal judge will hear lawsuit over Florida’s ‘intellectual diversity’ college campus surveys “They (plaintiffs) simply want the freedom to teach as they have before, without fear that discussing their viewpoints, or exercising legitimate (pedagogical) decisions about what to cover in their class — or making decisions about when to shut down a conversation that is unproductive or disruptive to the learning environment — will cause a student to use HB 233’s new, expansive monitoring tools, to report that their institutions are biased or hostile to intellectual freedom in the annual surveys, or report them for violating the anti-shielding provisions, perhaps secretly recording them in the process,” the plaintiffs’ Dec. 8 brief said.
Orlando Sentinel (12/19/22): Trial over Florida college ‘viewpoint diversity’ law set to begin Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker is scheduled to start a trial Jan. 9 in a challenge by the United Faculty of Florida and other plaintiffs to a 2021 law approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Highland News Sun (12/19/22): Judge poised to hear ‘intellectual freedom’ fight “We pointed out again and again to the Florida legislators who were voting for this bill that, despite what they said about campuses definitely bringing forward at least three candidates, and that there would still be transparency in the process, we said that this would lead to scenarios where one person would be put forward as the only candidate for consideration,” Gothard said. “And that person would often come from a pool of people in politics, rather than people solely in higher education.’
Inside Higher Ed (12/14/22): Florida Shops for New Accreditors “We advocated strongly against this from the beginning. We are furious that Florida’s colleges and universities even have to deal with this. We think it shows poor policy, poor planning and an inability to listen to community stakeholders that this bill was ever passed in the first place,” Gothard said.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education (12/13/22): University of Florida Faculty Voice Concerns About Potential Five-Year Tenure Faculty Review Dr. Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, said the issue was that the rule allowed for the chair to terminate tenured faculty without peer input.
The Gainesville Sun (12/12/22): UF faculty members perplexed over possible state changes to tenure “What the Board of Governors has proposed with this statewide tenure review is deeply problematic,” he said. “It puts the entire decision-making process about tenure in the hands of one person.”
University World News (12/10/22): U Florida president’s appointment raises important questions “The selection,” he told me, “demonstrates a lack of knowledge about what’s happening in the classroom, a lack of knowledge of what’s happening in the labs or in fieldwork. I’m going to take him at his word that he’s taken a vow of political celibacy, but he needs to find out what goes on in a research university.
NSM Today (12/9/2022): Proposed post-tenure review, an ongoing concern among faculty “Everyone in the university community — students, people in the community who aren’t connected to the university — really has a stake in this as well. Anybody who is interested and thinks this is a wrong-headed policy should comment,” Cassanello said.
NSM Today (12/9/2022): Florida legislature’s decisions intervene with higher education, signal potential chilling effect Cassanello is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Stop WOKE Act. The lawsuit argues the bill will cause a chilling effect on academic freedom. The bill codifies university funding with compliance.
The Independent Florida Alligator (12/5/2022): Battle looms for faculty tenure review across Florida “This post-tenure review regulation has a lot of very disturbing language in it,” Gothard said. “That indicates that the intention of the Board of Governors is not to improve tenure or to improve the higher education system, but it is to target and harm faculty.”
Inside Higher Ed (12/2/22): Florida’s Failed Searches “We believe that when boards of trustees don’t get the political appointees they want in the pool, that these will become failed searches, until they get people who will toe the line politically, as opposed to prioritizing the best interests of the institution that they’re applying to,” Gothard said.
NSM Today (11/26/22): Florida judge blocks ‘Stop WOKE Act’ in higher education, gives hope to educators “If you want to stop certain ideas from gaining traction, the way you do that in an education system is you disprove them. You provide convincing evidence and you persuade people with reason and argumentation,” Gothard said. “You don’t pass legislation that silences Americans and their ability to express the ideas that they believe in.”
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/21/22): Stop W.O.K.E Act temporarily blocked: UF’s perspective moving forward Graduate Assistant United President Bryn Taylor said the act violated the First Amendment and endangered graduate assistants, who often assist with or lead certain academic courses. GAU sent teaching guides to graduate assistants to avoid violations or lawsuits.
CBS46 Action News Jax (11/18/22): Federal judge blocks enforcement of so-called ‘Stop W.O.K.E. Act’ in higher ed Elizabeth Brown, President of the United Faculty of Florida’s UNF chapter, said now that the law is on hold, professors will be able to breath a sigh of relief and go back to teaching as usual. “This ruling now allows professors and students to be able to freely engage in that information seeking and that information discussion,” said Brown.
Tampa Bay Times (11/9/22): Florida universities push back on proposed new rules for faculty tenure Meera Sitharam, vice president of the University of Florida faculty union chapter, said the regulation’s wording is vague, leaves it open to loopholes and puts more power into the hands of administrators.
Tampa Bay Times (11/7/22): Ben Sasse faces ‘huge hill to climb’ as UF president. How will he do it? Rachel Hartnett, president of the graduate assistant union who spoke against Sasse at the trustees meeting, said she hopes he is willing to listen. For graduate students specifically, she said, that includes considering that wages have not kept up with the cost of living — something she was unsure if traditional conservatives would be amenable to hearing.
UNF Spinnaker (11/4/22): Early voting pizza party event organized by UNF professor made it easy to vote Students were invited to the Osprey Clubhouse for a pizza party where volunteers had information about early voting and, with funding from UFF, would shuttle them to an early voting site at the nearby Pablo Creek Regional Library.
WFSU (11/3/22): Tenure review for professors could be tied to Florida’s law that restricts race-related instruction The United Faculty of Florida has strongly opposed the race-related instruction law. The union in July published an article on its website titled, “HB 7: What UFF Members Need To Know About The “Stop WOKE Act,” calling the law “horrendous” and advising faculty members about its potential impacts.
Washington Post (11/1/22): Trustees approve Sen. Ben Sasse as next University of Florida president
UNF Spinnaker (11/1/22): Faculty union and UNF BOT tentatively agree on new contract, pending vote The University of North Florida faculty union — United Faculty of Florida (UFF) — and Board of Trustees (BOT) tentatively agreed upon a contract last that, if ratified and approved, will give faculty a 5% pay raise and $1,000 bonus.
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/1/22): Emerson Hall protest draws small turnout ahead of Sasse vote Paul Ortiz, president of UF’s chapter of United Faculty of Florida, addressed protesters about 10 minutes later. Sasse is unqualified to run the university and lacks the specific academic credentials to be in charge of a large research university, he said.
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/1/22): DISPATCHES: Updates on UF’s Sen. Ben Sasse interview, protest Paul Ortiz, UF United Faculty of Florida president, took to the mic to denounce Sasse. He said Sasse lacks the academic credentials to lead a large public research university.
Naples Daily News (11/1/22): Trustees approve U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., as the next University of Florida president “The process of picking the 13th president of the University of Florida has been rigged from the start,” said Rachel Hartnett, co-president of the UF Graduate Assistants United union.
Miami News Times (11/1/22): Florida’s Education System Is Turning Into Modern Day McCarthyism, or Worse, Historian Says “The University and UFF affirm that academic freedom is a right protected by this Agreement in addition to a faculty member’s constitutionally protected freedom of expression and is fundamental to the faculty member’s responsibility to seek and to state truth as he/she sees it,” the paragraph states in part.
The Independent Florida Alligator (10/31/22): Florida Legal Services asks UF to reverse indoor demonstration ban inside ahead of Tuesday’s protest On behalf of the United Faculty of Florida, Florida Legal Services demanded in a letter Friday that UF revoke its ban on demonstrations inside university buildings. The ban, which was announced by President Kent Fuchs in an email Oct. 24, poses a threat to the free speech rights of those who seek to express opposition to Sen. Ben Sasse’s appointment as UF president, the letter wrote.
Key Biscayne Portal (10/31/22): “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Ben Sasse has got to go!,” UF Faculty Senate votes “no confidence” in secret president search Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, explained that presidential searches have previously been open, giving faculty members the ability to have a voice in the process. But the results UF’s secret presidential search has been “one of the most egregious violations of the traditional separation of political authority and university governance that we’ve ever seen,” he said, and the faculty are warranted in using an “exceedingly rare” move to vote no confidence.
Eagle News (10/30/22): Presidential Finalist Tod Laursen Answers Faculty’s Dire Questions Dr. Carolynne Gischel, FGCU’s chapter president for the United Faculty of Florida, asked the first question of the forum. Gischel explained that the Board of Trustees ratified a new contract that many faculty members weren’t happy with because of the salary increase. She said that in the last three years, faculty has seen a 2.5 percent salary increase; however, the housing costs of Southwest Florida have increased nearly 35 percent “What specific actions would you take to ensure, to the best of your ability, that faculty are compensated adequately and that their salaries are increased at a rate that allows them to continue to live in Southwest Florida?” Gischel asked.
WTSP 10 Tampa Bay (10/28/22): Florida faculty vote no-confidence in process to pick Sasse The measure followed previous resolutions passed by the United Faculty of Florida union and the UF Student Senate criticizing the choice of Sasse for the job.
Washington Post (10/28/22): University of Florida faculty has ‘no confidence’ in Sasse selection Paul Ortiz, a professor of history who is president of the union on campus, said students and faculty members have worked hard to be at UF. “And then they have a process that essentially refutes all of that, and says, ‘We’re just going to allow this person to waltz in and be president because he’s a sitting U.S. senator.’ It’s an insult. And that’s how the faculty and many of the students have responded.”
Florida Phoenix (10/28/22): In a rare move, UF Faculty Senate votes “no confidence” in secret president search But the results UF’s secret presidential search has been “one of the most egregious violations of the traditional separation of political authority and university governance that we’ve ever seen,” he said, and the faculty are warranted in using an “exceedingly rare” move to vote no confidence.
CBS Miami (10/28/22): University of Florida faculty pass ‘no confidence’ resolution in presidential search process The United Faculty of Florida union on Monday announced that it had filed a public-records request to try to get information about a group of reportedly undisclosed finalists.
The Gainesville Sun (10/27/22): UF Faculty Senate approves no-confidence vote on selection process of Ben Sasse The measure followed previous resolutions passed by the United Faculty of Florida union and the UF Student Senate criticizing the choice of Sasse for the job. Other students, faculty and staff also have objected to Sasse’s selection for such reasons as his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Seattle Times (10/27/22): Florida faculty vote no-confidence in process to pick Sasse The measure followed previous resolutions passed by the United Faculty of Florida union and the UF Student Senate criticizing the choice of Sasse for the job. Sasse, a Republican in his second Senate term, has drawn criticism from some at the school in Gainesville, Florida, for his stance on same-sex marriage and other LBGTQ issues. Others question his qualifications to run such a sprawling school with more than 50,000 students.
News4 Jax (10/27/22): UF presidential search process draws no-confidence vote The United Faculty of Florida union on Monday announced that it had filed a public-records request to try to get information about a group of reportedly undisclosed finalists.
MyCBS4-Gainesville (10/27/22): UF Faculty Senate passes no-confidence vote on presidential search process Executive Director for United Faculty of Florida Candi Churchill said the university community deserves to learn more about the other candidates considered in the search. “I feel the University of Florida has really failed, I give this process an F,” Churchill said.
Daytona Beach News Journal (10/27/22): UF Faculty Senate approves no-confidence vote on selection process of Ben Sasse The measure followed previous resolutions passed by the United Faculty of Florida union and the UF Student Senate criticizing the choice of Sasse for the job. Other students, faculty and staff also have objected to Sasse’s selection for such reasons as his opposition to same-sex marriage.
WUFT (10/26/22): UF students and faculty voice their opposition before Sasse’s return to campus In response to the concealment of the other candidates, the United Faculty of Florida said it filed a public records request for the “full list of more than 700 applicants and the personal identifying information of the final pool of 12 candidates.” The union also asserted member concerns about Sasse’s qualifications.
Nebraska Public Radio (10/26/22): Sen. Sasse’s chances of landing the job of president at the University of Florida still under scrutiny “You can’t, on the one hand, say you respect freedom of speech, but then, on the other hand, say, ‘Well, you have freedom of speech, but you can’t do it inside of a building,’” said Paul Ortiz, a history professor at UF, who also leads the UF chapter of United Faculty of Florida.
NBC News (10/26/22): University of Florida to enforce protest ban after anti-Sasse rally Paul Ortiz, president of the local faculty union at the university, said the student protesters were inaccurately characterized by university officials “in an unfair and demeaning manner.”
Florida Phoenix (10/26/22): FL Board of Governors gloss over low turnout on “intellectual freedom” survey “There’s just no trust in this survey. There’s no statistical validity to it. There was really no effort to make this a survey that could actually represent the viewpoints that are welcome and those that aren’t — as if there are any that aren’t on Florida higher education,” he said.
WUSF (10/25/22): Faculty union seeks records on UF presidential search The United Faculty of Florida is seeking records related to the University of Florida’s search for a new president amid the union’s objections to U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska being the only finalist for the job.
WCJB Gainesville (10/25/22): United Faculty of Florida leaders requests UF to release the 11 other presidential candidate names
Tampa Bay Times (10/25/22): UF cracks down on indoor protests ahead of vote on next president Meanwhile, the United Faculty of Florida demanded better transparency about the search that led to Sasse’s nomination. The group filed a freedom of information request for the full list of applicants and more details about the final 12 candidates for the post, along with selected meeting records.
Daily Kos (10/25/22): Massive protest against Sasse being president sparks indoor protest ban at University of Florida “One either believes in the First Amendment or one does not,” said Paul Ortiz, president of the local faculty union at the university, according to the Associated Press. “Student, staff and faculty attempts to engage with Senator Sasse and the administration in a very important process were and are being rebuffed.”
WUFT (10/24/22): University of Florida bans protests in on-campus buildings as Sasse awaits presidential appointment “These are fear tactics,” said Rachel Hartnett, the co-president of UF Graduate Assistants United. “Why is Kent Fuchs, why is Ben Sasse, why is the Board of Trustees so afraid of what students have to say?”
The Independent Florida Alligator (10/24/22): 8 weeks of paid family leave likely for UF graduate assistants UF graduate assistants will most likely have eight weeks of paid family leave starting mid-October. Graduate Assistants United and the UF bargaining team met Thursday for a 30-minute meeting to discuss amending Article 8 of the graduate assistant contract, which currently allows for five days of paid family leave. GAU opened Article 8 for bargaining Sept.1 when it proposed a change to eight weeks. The union modeled its proposal on what was granted to the UF faculty union in 2020, said GAU Co-President Rachel Hartnett.
The Gainesville Sun (10/24/22): UF Faculty Senate holding emergency meeting on Ben Sasse, students warned about protests The graduate student union’s Instagram post criticized UF for providing “no mechanisms to the UF community for giving input” on the presidential selection and then threatening the UF community for finding alternative methods.
Politico (10/24/22): University of Florida bans indoor protesters from upcoming Sasse vote “The faculty would have preferred an individual who is qualified for the position, not a political appointee,” Paul Ortiz, president of the United Faculty of Florida’s UF chapter and a history professor, said in a statement Monday. “Our students work too hard to get into this university for someone to waltz into the presidency because of his political affiliation.”
News4 Jax (10/24/22): UF won’t allow protests inside campus buildings after Sen. Sasse hiring forum drew large, chanting crowd UFF said it submitted a public records request to UF demanding a full list of more than 700 applicants and the personal identifying information of the final pool of 12 candidates for the position, in addition to records of meetings that discussed the final group of applicants.
Florida Phoenix (10/24/22): Faculty union in FL demands UF officials release information on finalists in presidential search The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) has submitted a public records request “demanding the information required by Florida” law related to the applicants and “the personal identifying information of the final pool of 12 candidates for the position,” according to a press release from the group.
Florida Record (10/20/22): Survey of Florida college students, instructors shows tolerance for conservative views In addition, the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) opposed the surveys as a threat to academic freedom. “In short, these surveys are a weapon designed to benefit the political party in power and to punish those who do not hold ‘correct’ or ‘acceptable’ beliefs,” the UFF said in its previous criticisms of HB 233.
Politico (10/16/22): How DeSantis and Florida Republicans are reshaping higher education Gothard said lawmakers in Florida are relying on a “cartoonish” representation of what is happening in higher education to make policy moves.He pointed to the extremely low response rate to the political diversity survey offered to students and faculty throughout the system as evidence that the issues brought up at the statehouse aren’t as prevalent on campuses.“Florida’s students deserve the best education possible, and they deserve better than to be tinkered with, interfered with and harmed by the actions of politicians,” he added.
WUSF (10/14/22): New surveys of Florida colleges fail to support concerns over anti-conservative sentiment The United Faculty of Florida, the union representing professors at public universities, encouraged faculty members to ignore this year’s survey. The union complained about what it described as leading questions and lack of security. It said there was no outside third party guaranteeing information would remain private and anonymous.
Naples Florida Weekly (10/13/22): U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse tapped to become University of Florida president Gothard said the union is concerned about the search process and what he called a lack of transparency. But he added that the union is “pleased to see” that Sasse has a background in higher education in addition to his time in politics. “We believe Sen. Sasse should be given an opportunity to prove himself, and particularly to show where he stands on the ongoing attacks by Gov. DeSantis and his supporters on higher education in the state. As the president of the University of Florida, he will be at the forefront of enduring attacks on (professors’) tenure, on academic freedom,” Gothard said.
Tampa Bay Times (10/12/22): UF’s presidential search was not done as Florida law intended, lawmaker says They were joined by Andrew Gothard, president of the statewide faculty union, who said the university created a situation that shrouds Sasse’s candidacy in distrust. “Let’s be clear, the UF president is going to be paid for with public tax dollars, so there should be public oversight in this process,” Gothard said.
NBC News (10/12/22): University of Florida students protest against Ben Sasse’s anti-LGBTQ past
The Independent Florida Alligator (10/10/22): ‘He won’t live a day in peace’: UF presidential finalist Ben Sasse cut off by protesters flooding Q&A Paul Ortiz, a UF history professor and United Faculty of Florida union president, spoke on behalf of the Asian and Asian American faculty who are concerned about Sasse’s anti-Asian rhetoric.
Tallahassee Reports (10/10/22): Nebraska Senator Tapped to Become UF President “We pointed out again and again to the Florida legislators who were voting for this bill that, despite what they said about campuses definitely bringing forward at least three candidates, and that there would still be transparency in the process, we said that this would lead to scenarios where one person would be put forward as the only candidate for consideration,” Gothard said. “And that person would often come from a pool of people in politics, rather than people solely in higher education.”
The Independent Florida Alligator (10/7/22): UF organizations participate in nationwide event for bodily autonomy awareness One of the goals of the rally was to get people to sign a petition with 10 demands from Graduate Assistants United and three each from Free UF and Un-PAC, an organization dedicated to helping students vote. Demands include making Election Day a university holiday, building more gender neutral bathrooms and including voter registration information during Preview — UF’s freshman orientation.
The Independent Florida Alligator (10/7/22): UF community weighs in ahead of UF presidential finalist Sen. Ben Sasse’s campus visit Bryn Taylor, the co-president of Graduate Assistants United, said her organization is disappointed by UF’s choice. Because Sasse isn’t from Gainesville or familiar with it, Taylor said he’s not representative of UF’s student body.
The Gainesville Sun (10/7/22): US Sen. Ben Sasse positioned to become UF’s next president Ortiz said the optics of Sasse’s selection are going to complicate his presidency because he is going to be seen as a “quasi-political” choice.
Naples Daily News (10/7/22): Students, staff unhappy with FGCU’s Hurricane Ian make-up days schedule Carolynne Gischel, United Faculty of Florida’s FGCU chapter president, said in an email to FGCU president Michael Martin the new schedule “does not meet the needs of FGCU employees and students.”
Daily Business Review (10/7/22): Nebraska Senator Tapped to Become UF President Gothard said the union is concerned about the search process and what he called a lack of transparency. But he added that the union is “pleased to see” that Sasse has a background in higher education in addition to his time in politics.
The Florida Times Union-Jacksonville (10/6/22): UF announces Ben Sasse as only finalist for next university president “Sen. Sasse is really going to have to work hard to establish trust because his name has never come up. There hasn’t been any community vetting, there hasn’t been any town hall meetings,” Ortiz said. “This was conducted outside of the Sunshine Act because of the state law. It’s going to be very challenging to take the next steps here, because when President Fuchs was appointed, for example, he already had met with a lot of people before his appointment.”
Fox 35 Orlando (10/6/22): Nebraska GOP senator likely to resign to take job as UF president Gothard said the union is concerned about the search process and what he called a lack of transparency. But he added that the union is “pleased to see” that Sasse has a background in higher education in addition to his time in politics.
Creative Loafing Tampa (9/27/22): ‘Morale doesn’t pay the bills’: Hillsborough Community College faculty, administration at impasse over pay talks “While the administration has enjoyed raises to keep their salaries competitive with other academic institutions, faculty who are the essential part of a college, have seen no such raises,” Christopher Lue, a professor in HCC’s chemistry department, told the board
NSM Today (9/21/22): UCF professor may proceed in lawsuit against Stop ‘WOKE’ Act “For me, it’s so absurd to say that we, as professional educators, are indoctrinating our students,” Cassanello said. “And that’s a piece of the legislation that is troubling.”
University Business (9/15/22): Florida’s university system has a new chancellor, and it is this Republican “As far as UFF is concerned, all are welcome in Florida’s college and university classrooms. The diversity of our higher education system—political, social, or otherwise—is a key part of its strength. We need a Chancellor who both recognizes and promotes these facts, now and into the future. We sincerely hope that Ray Rodrigues can be that kind of Chancellor.”
Tampa Bay Times (9/14/22): Sen. Ray Rodrigues tapped to be Florida university system chancellor The United Faculty of Florida opposed both laws. Andrew Gothard, president of the faculty union, on Wednesday called the tenure-review and accreditation laws “bad policy, top to bottom.” But he expressed optimism about the union creating a new relationship with Rodrigues.
Best Colleges (9/7/22): Florida’s Stop WOKE Act Strips Academic Freedoms. Here’s How College Courses Could Change. Louise Newman, another history professor at UF with a focus on gender and race, said she finds problematic the language in the Stop WOKE Act that states students shouldn’t be made to feel guilty. Faculty cannot control the way subject material will make a student feel. “To expect students not to feel uncomfortable in a classroom is unrealistic; to attribute this discomfort to how the faculty is teaching is naïve,” she said.
Yahoo News (9/6/22): USF raising pay for faculty, graduate assistants and other employees Employees represented by the United Faculty of Florida bargaining unit will receive a lump-sum bonus of $2,000 and a 3.5% base salary increase, plus a 2% base salary increase next year.
Florida Phoenix (9/2/22): The last two Lt. Governors with education backgrounds were GOP; next could be a powerhouse Democrat Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, stressed the importance of having someone in the lieutenant governor’s office who is familiar with today’s political climate in education.
Inside Higher Ed (8/30/22): Fla. Students Largely Ignore ‘Intellectual Freedom’ Survey UFF and other parties are suing the state over the survey and other aspects of a 2021 law that mandates its annual distribution. The plaintiffs allege the law violates the First Amendment rights of students and faculty by incentivizing institutions to “police the speech inside, and outside, of their classrooms to avoid having to litigate cases.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education (8/29/22): Florida Lawmakers Enacted an Intellectual-Diversity Survey. Students Weren’t Interested. Some faculty members criticized the effort from the start, calling it an attempt by the state’s Republican legislators and governor, Ron DeSantis, to gin up support for the claim that conservative students feel unwelcome in college classrooms. The results of the first survey are in, and one thing is clear: Students weren’t very interested in filling it out.
Highed Ed Dive (8/29/22): Not even 3% of Florida university system students respond to ‘viewpoint diversity’ survey United Faculty of Florida, which represents thousands of educators in the state, in April urged students and staff to boycott the survey, around the time colleges sent an invitation to complete it. The union also filed a lawsuit to stop the survey from being administered. The lawsuit is ongoing.
Forbes (8/28/22): Students And Employees Snub Florida’s Mandated “Intellectual Freedom And Viewpoint Diversity” Survey Results are in from the Florida’s first mandated system-wide survey of ”intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” at its public universities, and one indisputable conclusion can be drawn from it: most students, staff, and faculty ignored it, yielding little in the way of trustworthy results.
WUSF (8/27/22): There were few takers for Florida’s college and university viewpoint diversity survey, results show In an April interview with WFSU, United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard said it would be unlikely that anyone would be able to make any determinations from the survey due to problems with its design.
Tampa Bay Times (8/26/22): Are Florida’s universities too liberal? Here’s what new state survey said. Andrew Gothard, president of United Faculty of Florida, said in an interview that the results are “completely invalid, not statistically reliable and represent nothing of value about the nature of higher education in Florida.” The union is a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the law.
Tallahassee Democrat (8/26/22): Florida students ignore lawmakers’ free speech survey; expert calls response rate dismal United Faculty of Florida leads the fight. The United Faculty of Florida urged students, faculty, and staff to ignore the survey and filed suit in the U.S. District Court of North Florida. Their lawyers argued the measure violates First Amendment Rights and could lead to the Republican-controlled Legislature punishing schools because of surveys results.
MyCBS4-Gainesville (8/19/22): A portion of the “Stop WOKE” act blocked & educators sue over another portion of the law “The “Stop WOKE” act threatens to undermine the incredible progress that we’ve made especially in public higher education,” Ortiz said.
Tampa Bay Times (8/14/22): UF’s lingering, self-inflicted damage | Editorial: The reputation of Florida’s flagship university is a state concern. UF leaders took the university’s reputation for granted. They should recommit to an institution that belongs to the public, not one governor, one legislator or a wayward trustee.
The Gainesville Sun (8/8/22): Survey of UF faculty finds academic concerns, willingness to leave for job elsewhere A recent survey of University of Florida faculty shows that concerns over academic freedom persist despite efforts by administrators to address issues raised over the past year and calm fears.The survey found that more than 83% of respondents strongly disagree with the statement that the UF Board of Trustees ensures the university is free from undue political influence.
Tampa Bay Times (8/8/22): UF faculty survey shows a desire to leave, low confidence in leadership Sitharam said the discontent stemmed from a “machinelike” expectation that faculty bring in research funding and teach classes without meaningful shared governance or involvement. “It’s tempting to say faculty just have a disconnect — they don’t understand what real life is, they complain too much,” she said. But their “overwhelming worry about political influence and lack of confidence in the board” raises questions, Sitharam said, comparing it to a corporate setting.
Palm Beach Post (8/8/22): Primary elections: Four vie for Group 5 Democratic Port of Palm Beach seat Poole is a senior instructor in communication studies in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is president of the FAU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida and board secretary for the Scholastic Achievement Foundation of Palm Beach County.
Orlando Sentinel (8/8/22): UF faculty survey shows low morale, worry for academic freedom
Bradenton Herald (8/3/22): DeSantis’ ‘anti-woke’ agenda, fully deployed, awaits students, teachers upon return to class
Palm Beach Post (7/27/22): Palm Beach Post Editorial Board endorsement: Deandre Poole for port commissioner, District 5 Democratic primary The Palm Beach Post endorses Deandre Poole for the Group 5 seat on the Port of Palm Beach District 5 commission seat. Born and raised in West Palm Beach’s historic Pleasant City neighborhood, Poole is a senior instructor in communications and multimedia studies at Florida Atlantic University.
CBS4 News (07/22/22): Higher education concerns continue with some universities as fall semester approaches “HB 233 the viewpoint discrimination law is the glue that holds all these pieces together,” President of United Faculty of Florida (UFF) Andrew Gothard said.
Higher Ed Dive (07/20/22) : Education Department issues new guidance to prevent ‘accreditation-shopping’ The policies could make it harder for colleges to switch accreditors and may clash with a new Florida law, experts say.
Home Room: the Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education (07/19/22): Postsecondary Accreditation Cannot Become a Race to the Bottom Recent changes to the accreditation landscape, such as the expansion of former regional accreditors to now accredit institutions outside their typical geographic boundaries and a new law in Florida that mandates public institutions to switch accrediting agencies before their next accreditation cycle, have been confusing to institutions and may also have a chilling effect on accrediting agencies as they seek to effectively do their job.
WUFT (07/18/22): The Point, July 18, 2022: Around the state Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a five-page order Thursday granting a request for a protective order to prevent a deposition of (Richard) Corcoran in the lawsuit filed by the United Faculty of Florida union and other plaintiffs.”
WFSU (07/16/22): A federal judge has shielded Florida’s former education commissioner in a case against ‘intellectual freedom’ surveys Corcoran, also a former state House speaker, stepped down April 30 as education commissioner but was subsequently appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the Board of Governors.
The Gainesville Sun (07/12/22): UF receives $3 million for new civics program with conservative links Efforts to measure, restrict ‘woke culture’ on campuses ..the “Stop WOKE” law passed this year, could imperil up to $100 million in performance funding for UF .. That also has prompted a lawsuit.
WMNF 88.5 (07/15/22): MidPoint: Academic Freedom is Under Attack in Florida Prof. Lang, the [USF] union president, flatly declared that all of the UFF member faculty are against the new “Stop Woke” law. Lang also warned that the new “Stop Woke” law may be in conflict with the standards and values of many of the accrediting boards that issue credentials for various professional licenses. “I don’t know what the universities would do when their standards (for accreditation) require them to have values (in)consistent with the values of the profession,” he said.
Florida Politics (07/12/22): Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.12.22 The action rests on the “apex doctrine,” which prevents top-level officials from testifying when other sources for the information exist. Last year, the United Faculty of Florida and others filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the law violates the First Amendment.
WUSF (07/12/22): State tries to shield Corcoran in ‘intellectual freedom’ case The United Faculty of Florida and other plaintiffs filed the federal lawsuit last year, arguing that the law violates First Amendment rights and could lead to the Republican-dominated Legislature punishing campuses because of political ideologies reflected in the surveys.
CNN Politics & WRAL 5 (07/08/22): Fact check: Liberal website changes headline that falsely said DeSantis signed a bill that forces students to register their political views A lawsuit challenging the law is headed for trial. And the United Faculty of Florida union has urged “all higher education faculty, staff, and students” not to fill out the surveys. People are entitled to their subjective positions on the issue.
First Coast News (07/08/22): No, a Florida law doesn’t require students, professors to register political views with the state “Ignoring this survey is an act that protects individuals of all political persuasions, now and into the future. This survey would not pass ‘validity tests’ in any institutional review process, as there is no way to ensure that responses will reflect the demographics of the institution. It is not worthy of time away from our teaching and research,” UFF said.
Tampa Bay Times & Politifact (07/08/22): Florida not requiring professors, students to register political views with the state Critics of the bill, like Gothard of the United Faculty of Florida, see the legislation as an attempt to “chill the right to freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right to privacy among all the Florida students, higher education students, faculty, and staff.”
The Providence Journal (07/07/22): McKee hits, GOP candidate Kalus deflects punch on her most admired pol, Ron DeSantis Florida is a whole different world from Rhode Island culturally and politically.
The Washington Post (07/01/22): In Florida, DeSantis’s plans for colleges rattle some academics “It is no exaggeration to say that the DeSantis administration represents an existential threat to higher education in the state of Florida,” said J. Andrew Gothard, the statewide president of the United Faculty of Florida and an instructor in the English department at Florida Atlantic University.
The Independent Florida Alligator (06/29/22): GAU occupies Fuchs’ office, asks for two week bargaining extension About 50 students sat in shifts outside UF President Kent Fuchs and UF Provost Joe Glover’s offices Tuesday, the last day of the bargaining session for graduate assistant wages.
The Gainesville Sun (06/28/22): I won’t let Florida’s ‘Stop WOKE Act’ silence discussions on race in my classroom I am not going to allow HB 7 to stop me from offering my students the most challenging scholarship on the Holocaust, eugenics, racism and related fields. The Stop WOKE Act will have zero impact on my research, public speaking or on my class lesson plans. – Article written by UFF-UF President Paul Ortiz, Guest Columnist
Florida Record (06/27/22): Florida’s ‘anti-WOKE’ law drawing more criticism from academic freedom advocates “Universities are supposed to be places of uninhibited debate, and the state of Florida has decided that debate should be inhibited,” Adam Steinbaugh, a foundation attorney, told the Florida Record.
The Gainesville Sun (06/24/22): UF’s state-funded rise in rankings now at risk due to DeSantis, Legislature Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida union, told the USA Today Network that the measure has raised faculty concerns that government is going to keep them from doing their jobs.
WUFT (06/20/22): Florida higher education union decries new ‘anti-WOKE’ law “I’m not going to pull a book or stop talking about a topic because I think some politician in Tallahassee wants me to stop talking about it,” Ortiz said. “If I did that, I would be doing disservice to my students who no longer would be able to have the benefit of the best scholarship on any given topic.”
My CBS4 News (06/17/22): SACSCOC says UF is “in compliance” with academic freedom and integrity standards The on-site review started after SACCOC’S first investigation found possible “significant noncompliance in December 2021.
ABC 7 (06/17/22): FGCU professors fight for higher pay raises to keep up with cost of living United Faculty of Florida union leaders like Patrick Niner say the cost of living is threatening many of the school’s 520 faculty members. “A lot of them are questioning their ability to continue to survive and work at FGCU,” Niner said.
News-Press / Palm Beach Post (06/16/22): DeSantis’ ‘Stop WOKE Act’ faces court test as universities become targets. At issue: free speech “People in hiring positions are telling us they’re hearing from professors in other states who question, ‘What’s the political environment like on your campus?’” said Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, a union representing 25,000 members across the state.
Naples Daily News / News-Press (06/16/22): State Sen. Ray Rodrigues drops Senate reelection bid During the 2022 legislative session, Rodrigues was a sponsor of a controversial higher-education measure (SB 7044) that allows the state university system’s Board of Governors to create a new system of reviewing professors’ tenure…Both laws were opposed by the United Faculty of Florida, the statewide union representing college and university professors
Eastern Florida State College (06/13/22): No Tuition Increase, Employee Pay Raises in New EFSC Budget A 2-percent raise plus $750 for each faculty member in the second year of a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the United Faculty of Florida Brevard Chapter.
Daytona Times (06/10/22): DeSantis targets tenure and ‘politicized’ classes “It definitely says something about intention and shows there is intentionality among the governor and Republican Legislature to control who is being hired and fired at public universities,” Robert Cassanello, president of the United Faculty of Florida at the University of Central Florida, said.
Tampa Bay Times (06/10/22): St. Petersburg College rejects ruling on adjunct faculty contract In a move described as rare, St. Petersburg College is defying the recommendations of a special magistrate who sided with a faculty union in a contract dispute.
National Education Association (06/08/22): NEA Announces Recipients of its Highest and most Prestigious Awards United Faculty of Florida (UFF-UF), recipient of the Rosena J. Willis Memorial Local Affiliate Award UFF has led the charge for preserving academic freedom for its members’ teaching as well.
University World News (06/08/22): Tenure is under attack in the US and your country is next “We’re hearing this false narrative, over and over again, that faculty are inserting their personal beliefs in the classroom, that they are ‘quote’ indoctrinating their students, forcing them to believe things that are untrue or unsupportable. Every time Governor DeSantis or other politicians make that statement, they can never find examples to prove their point.’ J Andrew Gothard, President of the United Faculty of Florida
Newsmax (06/07/22): Faculty Union Worried by Gov. DeSantis’ Plans for Higher Education “What we clearly see is a shift toward authoritarianism and we are seeing it manifesting in higher education – an assault on tenure and free speech,” he [Andrew Gothard] said.
The Detroit News (06/06/22): DeSantis seeks more control over Fla. universities, targeting tenure, ‘politicized’ classes A toxic political climate is hurting the reputation of Florida’s universities and making it harder to recruit the best teachers, said Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida.
CBS 12 News (06/06/22): Hiring for higher education: DeSantis wants more scrutiny of university professors “I think this a bad idea,” said Robert Cassanello, president of the United Faculty of Florida at the University of Central Florida. Cassanello says the governor is trying to micromanage universities. He says if this bill was ever introduced — if it became law — the consequences would be dire.
Ricochet (05/23/22): Are We Caving in to the Mob–or Not? “University of Central Florida (UCF) investigated my entire 22-year career with them in search of something–anything–that they believed they could use to justify their firing of me. Today, after a year and a half of grieving this with the assistance of the United Faculty of Florida’s Union-appointed attorney (H.B. Stiver of Tallahassee, Florida), I learned that I’ve been fully reinstated in my job with full back-pay and benefits. “- Charles Negy
Florida Politics (05/23/22): Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 5.23.22 A controversial University of Central Florida professor who came under fire two years ago for tweets that many students described as racist and was fired last year has won his job back after an independent arbitrator determined the school’s action violated its contract with the faculty union.
The Independent Florida Alligator (05/23/22): UF professor sues university after losing Fall semester classes Churchill Roberts, chair of the grievance committee for the United Faculty of Florida at UF, said Burt initially came to the union to discuss filing a grievance regarding the situation.
Politco (05/20/22): Florida’s Murphy has a stern message for Dems
The New York Times (05/20/22): University Must Reinstate Professor Who Tweeted About ʻBlack Privilegeʼ “It was a fraudulent firing from the beginning,” Dr. Negy said in an interview. “Just because George Floyd died, which was a national tragedy, doesn’t mean the social mob gets to go around demanding people get fired just because they are offended by controversial comments.”
Orlando Sentinel (05/19/22): Controversial UCF professor fired amid racism controversy wins job back The arbitrator said that the university failed to show “just cause” in January 2021, when it terminated the professor, Charles Negy, the author of a book titled “White Shaming: Bullying Based on Prejudice, Virtue-Signaling, and Ignorance.”
Tallahassee Democrat (05/13/22): Florida teachers, school staff caught by ‘gotcha police’ as DeSantis culture wars heat up
FIRE (05/10/22): University of Florida’s chilling message to faculty: Abide by House Bill 7 because our funding’s on the line As Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida union, observes, “Not only does [the university’s guidance] editorialize around the law and continue to perpetrate the falsehood that higher ed faculty are inserting their personal views into classroom lectures, but it also shows once again that UF administration is more comfortable aligning itself with Tallahassee than it is defending the rights of its own faculty and student bodies.”
Tampa Bay Times (05/09/22): Florida campus surveys under scrutiny in lawsuit. ‘A political tool.’ “The law intrudes upon the private views and associations of students and faculty and … pits students against faculty members in a battle over classroom expression, and public colleges and universities against their own faculty,” the complaint says.
University Business (05/06/22): Woke-up call: UF president sends video to faculty to deal with DeSantis-backed bill “We were really disappointed in that video for two reasons,” Gothard said. “We’re seeing administration serving as a mouthpiece for legislators and the governor, instead of defending the rights and the great work of the faculty.”
KFDM, FOX 17 (05/06/22): University of Florida sends a video explaining ‘Stop Woke Act’ law to faculty “There’s a very broad difference between what a faculty member personally believes and what theories or concepts or ideas they support as a professional and a scholar based on the available evidence that is out there,” Gothard said.
The Scientist Magazine (05/04/22): Florida Faculty Await Details on New Tenure Law Andrew Gothard, the president of United Faculty of Florida (UFF) – says that the law is “intended to make faculty think twice” about contradicting the governor’s political stances. Gothard also says that the new policy is likely an intimidation tactic to “keep students and staff . . . silent on campus, or . . . only talking about conservative viewpoints.”
Academic Freedom Victory at UF : College of Education Approves doctoral program “Critical Studies in Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Education” (05/03/22) : “After several more meetings with college level administration, faculty contacted our union, the United Faculty of Florida, and I filed a grievance that quickly garnered unanticipated national attention. The university approved the concentration, representing a major milestone in the battle for academic freedom and critical race studies against this fascist form of suppression.” [Christopher Busey, a UFF-UF member and professor in the College of Education]
CBS4 News (05/02/22): UF sends a video explaining “Stop Woke Act” to faculty Meera Sitharam is UF’s chapter of UFF vice president. “Whose this person who’s going to decide whether I’m being objective,” Sitharam said. She said the bill consistently talks about the importance of being objective, but wants to know who determines if something is objective.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (05/02/22): He Accused the University of Florida of Violating His Academic Freedom. The Provost Disagrees. When asked, Busey said that threat was implicit. “If you or anyone else can’t understand that as … a faculty member of color, being called into a meeting by the associate provost where you’re told that your work can no longer be supported, that you may want to seek employment elsewhere, and if you move forward with the concentration as is, that there will be consequences” constitutes a direct threat, then “I don’t know what else to say to that.”
NSM Today (04/29/22): House bill presumes ‘indoctrination’ on campuses, Florida faculty union says; union in lawsuit against state “Students and faculty should be able to have open conversation and critical discussion without being worried about the government tracking or turning them in,” Churchill said. [Candi Churchill, Executive Director of UFF]
CBS 4 News (04/25/22): Faculty union speaks out on recent state education bills “If the state of Florida is telling me I can’t do that anymore that I have to censor myself, my response to them is are we still apart of the United States of America?” Paul Ortiz asked.
Florida Phoenix (04/21/22): Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr. is the top contender for the FL Education Commissioner job. Is that good or not? The United Faculty of Florida said DeSantis and other state officials “fundamentally do not understand how Florida’s higher education system works,” according to the union’s written statement earlier this week.
The Florida Times-Union (04/21/22): DeSantis taps Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. for Florida’s education commissioner “While we may not always agree, FEA looks forward to working with the new commissioner toward a common goal — making our public schools the strongest in the nation,” Spar said in a tweet. [Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association]
Inside Higher Ed (04/20/22): Florida Passes Posttenure-Review Law Andrew Gothard, president of Florida’s statewide faculty union, the United Faculty of Florida, said in a statement Tuesday that DeSantis “enjoys touting the top-ranked quality of our state’s higher education system, while simultaneously failing to recognize that Florida’s higher education faculty are the reason for that ranking.”
The Center Square (04/20/22): DeSantis signs higher education reform bill into law The United Faculty of Florida released a statement criticizing the new law. “The statements made today are playing political games with the futures of over a million of Florida’s students.”
Yahoo News (04/20/22): Florida limits professor tenure, citing ‘indoctrination’ concerns The head of United Faculty of Florida suggested the lawmakers and governor did not understand how universities operate.
ABC Action News (04/20/22): Tenured professors in Florida must undergo 5-year review, under new law “The only missing piece in that equation is that tenured faculty cannot be fired for political reasons, meaning the passing whims of the latest politician in power cannot be used to harm the future of Florida’s students and institutions,” Gothard said.
Florida Phoenix (04/20/22): DeSantis, other state officials, go after university professors, tenure protections The United Faculty of Florida, a statewide university faculty union, responded, saying: “If Gov. DeSantis and Florida’s legislative leaders demonstrated anything during today’s press conference, it is that they fundamentally do not understand how Florida’s higher education system works,” according to the union’s written statement.
HigherEd Drive (04/20/22): Florida bid to change public colleges’ accreditors, add post-tenure review becomes law “Gov. DeSantis made it clear today that controlling the thoughts and actions of the higher education community is more important to him than the quality of education Florida’s students receive,” Gothard said.
CBS 4 Miami (04/19/22): Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Higher-Ed Accreditation, Tenure Changes The measure (SB 7044) also significantly changes the process of reviewing professors’ tenure, a provision that has drawn ire from the state’s largest faculty union.
WUSF News (04/19/22): Florida’s public colleges and universities have to try to find new accreditors “Let’s be honest,” said Gothard, “our public higher education system is one of the best in the country, if not the world. And you don’t get there by having faculty who are not held accountable for the quality of work they’re producing.”
Miami Herald (04/19/22): Review of tenured faculty, accreditation policy change signed into law by DeSantis “Tenure allows for due process and a hearing and has typically protected people from being fired for political reasons,” he [Gothard] said.
WLRN (04/19/22): Florida’s public colleges and universities have to try to find new accreditors United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard says faculty members already undergo annual evaluations and tenured faculty have what’s called a post-tenure review. The rules are outlined in collective bargaining agreements between faculty members and their respective institutions.
CBS 12 (04/19/22): DeSantis signs higher-ed accreditation, tenure changes “All of Florida’s faculty already undergo an extensive performance review process, tenured or otherwise; they are already held accountable by their peers and employers,” Gothard said in a statement.
WCJB 20 ABC (04/19/22): Gov. DeSantis announces higher education reform, tenured professors must undergo 5-year review In a statement, the United Faculty of Florida wrote: “DeSantis made it clear today that controlling the thoughts and actions of the higher education community is more important to him than the quality of education Florida’s students receive.”
News4Jax (04/19/22): Gov. DeSantis signs higher education reform bill dealing with accreditation, tenure The governor’s approval of the bill drew an immediate objection from United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard. The union has argued that individual schools already have processes to review faculty tenure.
WSTP 10 Tampa Bay (04/19/22): Gov. DeSantis signs higher education bill with tenure review, accreditation changes into law
Tampa Bay Times (04/19/22): DeSantis signs bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities Andrew Gothard, president of United Faculty of Florida, said the comments by DeSantis and Sprowls reflected a deep misunderstanding of how higher education works. ”From where we stand, the only indoctrination happening right now is coming from Tallahassee.”
CW 44 Tampa CBS (04/19/22): Gov. DeSantis Aims to Reform Higher Education In Florida “This bill is trying to score cheap political points at the expense of the future of Florida’s over a million higher education students across the state,” said Gothard.
WPTV (04/19/22): Tenured professors in Florida must undergo 5-year review, under new law The United Faculty of Florida responded to the law signing, saying DeSantis is “playing political games with the futures of over a million of Florida’s students.”
Tampa Bay Times (04/15/22): How Florida’s ‘anti-woke’ bill could impact public universities “This is payback for people speaking up. This is payback for people who dissent from Tallahassee at this current moment in time,” said Paul Ortiz, a University of Florida history professor who serves as the president of the United Faculty of Florida’s UF chapter.
The FAMUan (04/13/22): Florida law mandates ‘Intellectual Freedom’ survey for all colleges “Florida’s government has no right to know the thoughts, feelings, or political or religious beliefs of anyone,” said Gothard. “Including the higher education community.”
KUTV , FOX 31 and FOX 11 News (04/12/22): Florida union leader calls college free speech survey ‘authoritarianism’ At UFF, we fight for the rights of all Floridians, not merely those who agree with the political party in power. We believe that every American has the right to think, feel, and believe as they see fit,” Gothard says, according to the UFF. “Living in Florida, under the influence of Governor DeSantis, does not abridge that right.
The Oracle (04/10/22): UFF condemns Viewpoint Diversity Survey This extends to universities, where staff, faculty and students would be able to sue universities if they believed they were being prevented from accessing some political viewpoints or information. UFF said this may lead to the spreading of hate speech, which universities would be unable to suppress due to the legislation’s provisions.
WJCT News (04/09/22): The Florida Round Up: Diversity viewpoint surveys Andrew Gothard, UFF President [Audio 32:47-44:26]
WLRN (04/08/22): The Florida Round Up – Florida faculty are fighting back on state survey “Interestingly enough, neither of those two surveys asks what influence local administrators might be having on the political climate on campus. They don’t ask what board of trustees members might be doing to influence political climate, and they don’t ask what local politicians might be doing.” Andrew Gothard, UFF President. [Audio 32:47-44:26]
Orlando Sentinel (04/08/22): University, college staff urged not to fill out ‘intellectual freedom’ surveys
The Florida Channel (04/08/22): Capitol Update – Week Ending 04/08/2022 “The students might not be as open during discussion. Faculty might not challenge or create an environment that Florida’s enjoyed for the last hundred years in the classroom.” Said Dr. Roscoe Hightower, UFF-FAMU President [Video 09:41-11:24]
NSM Today (04/08/22): Faculty union encourages faculty, students to ignore Viewpoint Diversity Survey “We expect that many lawmakers in Tallahassee will use the results of the survey to encroach even more on our classrooms and threaten academic freedom,” Cassanello wrote in the statement. [UFF at UCF President]
Tallahassee Democrat (04/07/22): Why all the fuss over campus political surveys? | Bill Cotterell “Florida’s government has no right to know the thoughts, feelings, or political or religious beliefs of anyone, including the higher education community,” UFF contends. “Privacy is the bedrock of democracy and a safeguard against autocratic control.”
Inside Higher Ed (04/07/22): Chancellor Resigns Amid Free Speech Survey Launch The interim chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater recently resigned after system leaders announced a planned systemwide survey on campus free speech. The disagreement over the survey follows another controversial survey mandated at Florida public colleges and universities about campus ideological diversity, which has faced fierce resistance from the United Faculty of Florida union.
The Gainesville Sun (04/07/22): While decrying ‘indoctrination,’ Gov. DeSantis is pushing his own version No matter how many people participate or what the overall findings show, DeSantis will likely find something in the survey that he can use to blast schools such as UF and make the case for more conservative university leadership (such as outgoing Education Commission Richard Corcoran being installed at UF president).
The Rock Hill Herald (04/06/22): Editorial Roundup: Florida These laws aren’t about fighting corporate abuse, protecting children or unharnessing speech on campus. They’re about keeping large, influential employers from challenging Republican talking points on social and cultural issues.
CBS 4 News (04/06/22): FL state faculty union vs “Intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” survey “The only goal and the only role that this survey can play is to chill the freedom of speech, freedom of association, and right to privacy that our students and faculty have,” Gothard [President of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF)] said.
Creative Loafing Tampa (04/06/22): Federal court denies state motion to dismiss constitutional challenge over law that led to ‘intellectual freedom’ surveys The plaintiffs [UFF] have argued that the surveys violate First Amendment rights and could lead to the Republican-dominated Legislature punishing campuses because of political ideologies reflected in the surveys.
WQCS 88.9FM (04/06/22): Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Survey of State School Employees and Students Denied “The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) is thrilled by this decision,” said UFF President Andrew Gothard in a statement issued following the Tuesday decision. “It indicates that the free speech rights of Florida’s higher education community will have their day in court … we look forward to seeing this law struck down.”
Tampa Bay Times (04/06/22): Florida Republicans see education policy as their election edge A judge on Tuesday granted the United Faculty of Florida the right to continue challenging the law that prompted the survey, the News Service of Florida reports.
Florida Phoenix(04/06/22): FL’s new college survey on political leanings may have flaws that could invalidate results The Phoenix has found that links related to the surveys have been sent to people who are not supposed to be taking it.
WLRN 91.3FM (04/06/22): Judge allows ‘intellectual freedom’ lawsuit to move forward Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a three-page decision that denied a motion by the state to dismiss the case, which was filed by the United Faculty of Florida union and other plaintiffs. Walker, in part, rejected arguments that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to pursue the case.
News Service Florida (04/05/22): ‘Intellectual Freedom’ Lawsuit Allowed to Move Forward
Alachua Chronicle (04/05/22): State university faculty union encourages faculty, staff, and students to ignore “Viewpoint Diversity” survey One weakness of the survey is that anyone who has the link can complete it; other than distributing the link to email addresses affiliated with the schools, there does not appear to be any effort to ensure that the responses are from actual students or employees at state colleges or universities.
WCJB (04/05/22): DeSantis issues “viewpoint diversity” survey stirring controversy among university students and faculty “If our colleges and universities are so biased, why is it that parents all over the world are fighting to get their kids into our universities? Answer me that, Governor Ron DeSantis,” said Paul Ortiz, President of UF’s chapter of United Faculty of Florida.
WQCS 88.9FM (04/05/22): United Faculty of Florida Opposes “Ideological” Survey United Faculty of Florida (UFF) characterized the survey as “ideological” saying it seeks to determine the political leanings of all faculty, staff, and students as well asking respondents to share their viewpoints on the politics of their friends, colleagues, and classmates.
The Baharat Express (04/05/22): Florida colleges must administer a “Diversity of Views” survey. Don’t take it, says the faculty union. “During the committee process when this law was a bill there was not a single complaint, there was no evidence of any repression on campus. Still, the governor and politicians said it was necessary because professors are trying to suppress students.” said Candi Churchill, the union’s executive director.
Spinnaker (04/05/22): Ignore “Viewpoint Discrimination” survey, Florida faculty union says “We don’t need or want a return to the dark days of McCarthyism and the Johns Committee in Florida. Academic freedom, freedom of speech, and exposure to diverse perspectives in the classroom are core values for our campus community,” United Faculty of Florida at the University of North Florida (UFF-UNF) President Nicholas de Villiers said.
WFSU (04/05/22): Union urges Florida higher ed students and faculty to ignore ‘intellectual freedom’ surveys “Ignoring this survey is an act that protects individuals of all political persuasions, now and into the future. This survey would not pass ‘validity tests’ in any institutional review process, as there is no way to ensure that responses will reflect the demographics of the institution. It is not worthy of time away from our teaching and research,” the union said in a statement.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (04/04/22): Florida’s Colleges Must Administer ‘Viewpoint Diversity’ Survey. Don’t Take It, Faculty Union Says “During the committee process when this law was a bill there was not one complaint, there was no evidence of any kind of suppression on campus. Yet the governor and politicians said this was necessary because faculty are trying to repress students.” Said Candi Churchill, Executive Director of United Faculty of Florida.
Florida Phoenix (04/04/22): Statewide faculty to FL college students, staff: ignore new ‘viewpoint diversity’ survey The surveys are to measure “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity,” defined in Florida law as “the exposure of students, faculty, and staff to, and the encouragement of their exploration of, a variety of ideological and political perspectives.”
WCTV (04/04/22): Union Urges Ignoring ‘Intellectual Freedom’ Surveys “The state will frame any data collected from this survey, regardless of what it shows, as evidence that our profession indoctrinates students. I see no reason, then, for our faculty to willingly provide information for that purpose when the entire instrument was designed to hurt higher education in the first place,” Niner said in a statement. Patrick Niner, president of the faculty union at Florida Gulf Coast University.
HigherED Dive (04/04/22): Battle heats up over ‘viewpoint diversity’ survey in Florida public colleges United Faculty of Florida said boycotting the voluntary survey would protect “individuals of all political persuasions.” The Republican-dominated state government began requiring public colleges to distribute the questionnaire under a 2021 law.
WFLX (04/04/22): Union urges Florida faculty to ignore controversial survey The United Faculty of Florida urged faculty to ignore the survey, saying it would create a chilling effect on free speech and freedom of association on campuses.
WUSF (04/04/22): Florida university professors react to implementation of ‘intellectual freedom’ survey The [UFF-UF] staff argues that “surveillance has no place in Florida’s higher education system” and that DeSantis’ behavior “is not a standard of leadership any member of Florida’s higher education community should support.”
CBS47 Action News Jax (04/04/22): Florida universities, colleges asking students & staff whether their campuses are politically biased “Faculty do not welcome the interference of an explicitly partisan survey that infringes on our privacy and civil liberties,” said UNF chapter President Nicholas de Villers in an emailed statement.
Associated Press and Florida Politics (04/04/22): Union urges Florida faculty to ignore controversial survey The union says that while the surveys are supposed to be anonymous, faculty members can be identified and targeted through questions about their demographic background and where they work.
Times Higher Education (04/04/22): Florida fears brain drain as political interference mounts The state’s governor and other Republican leaders acted in recent months to subject students and faculty to tests of personal viewpoints, and to bar faculty countering the state in courtroom testimony. From there, they have moved to erode tenure protections, restrict and interfere in campus leadership searches and appointments, and reduce funding to locations that teach gender and racial equity.
Beaumont Express (04/04/22): Union urges Florida faculty to ignore controversial survey “Florida’s government has no right to know the thoughts, feelings, or political or religious beliefs of anyone, including the higher education community,” the letter said. “Privacy is the bedrock of democracy and a safeguard against autocratic control.”
WFTV (04/01/22): Judge OKs sending controversial survey to Florida college, university students and staff “A constitutional right means it applies to everyone, even if and especially if you disagree with those in power. That’s what we are here to protect,” Gothard said. [Video 00:00 – 01:47]
Tampa Bay Times (04/01/22): Judge clears way for ‘intellectual diversity’ surveys at Florida colleges Andrew Gothard, president of United Faculty of Florida, responded to Walker’s ruling by calling on people to boycott the surveys. The union leader cited concerns that the surveys ask respondents to provide information that could result in faculty members being identified and targeted.
Miami Herald (04/01/22): Judge declines to block intellectual freedom surveys on Florida university campuses Lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis last year approved a law (HB 233) requiring schools to distribute the surveys annually. But the measure drew a legal challenge from the United Faculty of Florida union and other opponents who argued that it violates the First Amendment.
WCJB (03/30/22): Free UF Coalition advocates for academic freedom as UF Professor files suit against school Students, professors said free the University of Florida from what they call censorship from administrators. “This is a crisis time for academic freedom,” said Professor Dr. Paul Ortiz. [Video 00:00 – 01:19]
MyCBS4 News (03/30/22): #FreeUF Academic Freedom day at UF “Academic freedom is not something we can take for granted.. candidly, many people are afraid,” Ortiz said. [Video 00:00 – 01:55]
The Oracle (03/30/22): Respectable raises are long overdue, faculty say While both the university [USF] and UFF are interested in raising faculty wages, the percentage increase is the topic of debate. Connolly believes the university [USF] should meet the demands of UFF to show their appreciation for the continuous diligence and hard work faculty members exhibit on a day-to-day basis.
WUFT (03/30/22): University of Florida students, professors hold teach-in on academic freedom Rachel Hartnett, co-president of Graduate Assistants United at UF… is concerned about how UF’s recent behavior will reflect on her degree, she said. She also worries about UF’s accreditation being investigated by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Capitolist (03/28/22): Opponents rush to court to block Florida’s intellectual freedom surveys on college campuses Attorneys for the plaintiffs, including the United Faculty of Florida union, contended that allowing the surveys to move forward on the timeline “threatens irreparable harm to plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.” The motion said Republican lawmakers passed the measure to target what they perceived as liberal bias on campuses
The Gainesville Sun (03/24/22): State leaders have normalized the kind of bigotry that Alan Trask once promoted “Everybody was afraid to vote against it, particularly with the Moral Majority looking at those kinds of votes,” Ken Megill, president  of the United Faculty of Florida, told The Times.
NSM Today (03/23/22): Board of Trustees signs collective bargaining agreement with faculty union; new contract expires in 2024 The ratification of this agreement included salary increases and the addition of “catch-up” payments. Last year, there were no raises for faculty, only a one-time payment of $1,000, according to the BOT meeting’s agenda.
WUSF News (02/23/22): Florida university faculty react to legislation that would change tenure requirements “… is that a Provost will come along and decide that someone has said something or done something that’s politically not up to what they’re looking for — it’s controversial. And because it’s political, they’ll make the decision that you are to be dismissed or non-renewed or something like that.” Said William Lang, VP of UFF-USF.
The Gainesville Sun (03/22/22): Florida’s lawmaking process undermined by 11th hour changes to higher-ed policy If democracy dies in darkness, it sickens at twilight, and the last few days of this most recent legislative session were anything but a shining example of Florida’s lawmaking body at work. Once again, conservative lawmakers not only ignored the democratic process but also actively worked to undermine it, all for what? To push an agenda that higher-ed faculty cannot be trusted to do their jobs without threat of punishment. [Andrew Gothard | Guest columnist]
WCJB20 (03/21/22): Organizers bring an event known as “Academic Freedom Day” to UF campus “Academic Freedom Day” will feature guest speakers to talk about what they say is censorship at the University of Florida.
Action News Jax (03/17/22): New state law will shield names of UNF presidential applicants until finalists are announced “UNF is concerned because national research shows that secrecy in the search process benefits insider candidates. At UNF, the presidential search timeline has been extended as a direct result of this new law,” said UFF-UNF Vice President Elizabeth Brown. [Video 00:00 – 02:11]
Palm Beach Post (03/15/22): ‘Citadel of Freedom’ Florida enacts ways to muzzle academic freedom at state universities | Frank Cerabino “At the final hour of the session, and without any public comment, this amendment will set our universities back decades in our retention and hiring efforts,” Candi Churchill, executive director of United Faculty of Florida, said in a statement. “This is another way for politicians and upper administrators to get rid of viewpoints and ideas they might not like.”
The Independent Florida Alligator (03/15/22): UF’s presidential search will be held behind closed doors under new Florida bill The law puts a restraint on the public’s access to information, and the lack of information will have a negative impact on the candidate’s success, Paul Ortiz, president of the United Faculty of Florida at UF, said.
Florida Phoenix (03/11/22): Big pay hikes for state workers in state budget, but what about university and college employees? Gothard said that UFF is pleased to see the increased budget for higher education, “but there is definitely more that could be done,” such as ensuring that “non-tenure-track faculty” are compensated better.
Tampa Bay Times (03/10/22): Florida Legislature passes bill allowing more scrutiny of tenured faculty
The Bharat Express (03/09/22): Florida public colleges may soon recruit presidents in secret Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, said he was disappointed with the Legislature’s decision to pass the bill. “When you take away the sun, you take away the best and most efficient way for the citizens of Florida, its voters and its faculty to oversee the use of public funds,” he said.
Tallahassee Democrat (03/08/22): Letters to the editor: “Live free only if you agree with DeSantis” I have been a Floridian for 66 years and have been a high school math teacher, an education lobbyist, teacher union executive director in two counties, and at the United Faculty of Florida. I have seen legislative sessions from the late 1970’s until now. This session is by far the worst session in those 40+ years. [Written by Marshall Ogletree, Tallahassee, FL]
Florida Politics (03/07/22): Bill addressing higher ed accreditation clears Senate accompanied by controversial amendment The amendment also was criticized for being brought up at the last minute, with a week left in Session and lacking committee review and public testimony. The United Faculty of Florida were not consulted about the amendment, Diaz said, which also led to scrutiny.
Tampa Bay Times (03/07/22): Late bill change would weaken tenure at Florida universities, faculty say “The legislators submitting the the amendment are basically announcing to the academic community that they don’t care about academic freedoms,” Mulvey said.
CBS 4 News (03/07/22): UF faculty union speaks out about a senate bill they call an “attack” “It just means that it opens the door for increased interference by the legislature, into the work of faculty members,” [Meera] Sitharam said. [UF’s chapter of United Faculty of Florida (UFF) Vice President]
Miami Herald (03/07/22): Florida Senate targets university tenure. Faculty warns of threat to academic freedom Any attempt to change tenure reviews coming from that level, however, would need to be negotiated with each school’s faculty union, said Matthew Lata, president of Florida State University’s faculty union. The law, however, must be followed.
Florida Politics (03/06/22): ‘Scary and irresponsible’: Last-minute amendment draws opposition on bill dealing with higher-ed accreditors “Let’s be honest, and we know what’s gone on this past year with University of Florida, among other schools, with political issues. And that is exactly why we are concerned here,” said Boca Raton Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky. “There’s a sneakiness to this. There’s a political component.
WCJB 20 (03/02/22): University of Florida graduate assistants protested for higher pay Graduate assistants at the University of Florida are protesting for higher pay. They are calling for an increase in the minimum stipend graduate assistants are given. [Video 00:00 – 00:47]
NSM Today (02/21/22): Faculty union concerned over provost appointment without national search “It is not just the president or just the provost who makes the university,” Rahman said. “The university is made by its faculty, by its students, by staff, by everyone who is there. So, I think it is important that input be taken from all stakeholders.” [Talat Rahman, member of the UFF council]
Sun-Sentinel (02/20/22): Op-ed: New bill threatens federal financial aid for Florida’s students A loss of accreditation means that, at minimum, students will no longer have access to federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and federal student loans, which are key to making higher ed equally accessible to all Floridians.
The FAMUan (02/08/22): Bomb threats at HBCUs continue “We condemn these ongoing bomb threats targeted against Black people in our state at three HBCUs,” Gothard said. “We stand opposed to racism, bigotry and white supremacy in all its forms.” [Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida]
NSM Today (02/07/22): Faculty union, Board of Trustees reach agreement to raise salaries, offer one-time payment The United Faculty of Florida at UCF and UCF Board of Trustees reached a verbal agreement to raise salaries and offer a one-time payment on Wednesday.
Washington Post (02/07/22): In his fight against ‘woke’ schools, DeSantis tears at the seams of a diverse Florida DeSantis wants to give people the right to sue schools and teachers over what they teach based on student “discomfort.”
WCJB 20 (02/04/22): ‘Institutions cannot run off secrets’: Proposed Senate Bill would blind public from universities presidential search “We believe that the public should have knowledge and opportunity to have input over such an important search,” Ortiz said. “Students go here because they value public education. SB 520 is not honoring that rich tradition of public education and that’s why we oppose it.” (President Paul Ortiz, The United Faculty of Florida at UF)
Miami Herald (02/04/22): Accrediting agency scrutinized flagship universities, so GOP lawmakers want new process United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard was concerned that the effort would “intimidate accrediting bodies into allowing more political interference on our higher education campuses.”
Tampa Bay Times (02/04/22): Florida House takes aim at college accreditation process Leaders in the Florida House on Thursday introduced legislation that takes aim at the accrediting body for the state university system after the agency recently questioned political influence at two flagship universities.
The Bharat Express News (02/02/22): Florida Bill May Shield University Presidential Public Research “We think the legislature and the governor want to install political appointees in those roles, and this law would make it much easier for them to do that,” he said.
The FAMUAN (02/01/22): FAMU employees stage demonstration Hightower [president of the FAMU chapter of UFF] said, “UFF FAMU is in complete support for AFSCME, and they asked us to come out and support them in their struggle and you’re going to see more and more labor unions supporting each other as the struggle continues. The biggest impact today is making the community aware of what goes on the campus.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education (02/01/22): Florida Bill May Shield University Presidential Searches From the Public
The Independent Florida Alligator (01/31/22) : Are we REALLY all in this together? UF’s reputation is under threat. There is a serious breakdown of trust and faith in the school’s academic governing process, the very concept of collegiality and respect for the role of faculty.
Florida Phoenix and Flagler Live (01/28/22): Secret college presidential searches in FL would open door to corruption, nepotism, cronyism The juxtaposition of these ideas is nonsensical. Florida can’t be struggling to attract qualified candidates to run our higher education institutions and simultaneously be top ranked in the United States. [Article Written by President Andrew Gothard]
Tampa Bay Times (01/27/22): University president search exemption gains momentum in Florida Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, questioned whether “high-ranking insiders” involved in search processes could be stopped from “putting their thumb on the scale” if the measure becomes law.
Florida Politics (01/27/22): ‘A recipe for corruption’: Professors slam presidential search exemption bill at final Senate committee “These positions are some of the most powerful unelected positions in the state that control billions of dollars in public funds,” Gothard [president of United Faculty of Florida] said. “This law is a recipe for corruption, where Florida students are left paying the ultimate price.”
The Daytona Beach News-Journal (01/27/22): Florida Senate panel advances public-records exemption for higher-ed presidential searches “Why does an applicant, a mysterious, unnamed applicant, have more of a right to privacy than the public has a right to an open and honest and transparent hiring process?” Gothard [President of United Faculty of Florida said.
Tampa Bay Times (01/25/22): Faculty groups blast Florida bill to make presidential searches more secret “‘We see this as nothing less than an attempt to streamline corruption,’ United Faculty of Florida president Andrew Gothard said, referring to the bill.”
AAUP (01/25/22): AAUP President Cautions Against Lack of Transparency as University of Florida Seeks New President Such an open and thorough process of selection is fundamental to determining which candidate has the academic leadership and administrative skills needed to successfully lead the university.
CBS 4 News (01/21/22): Federal judge blocks UF from requiring approval for faculty to testify against state “He’s saying you know, China doesn’t have to pass a law, people began to anticipate. Our German colleagues here called it anticipatory obedience.” said Paul Ortiz [President of UFF-UF Chapter].
News 4 Jax (01/19/22): University presidential searches could be behind closed doors It came after Matthew Lata, president of United Faculty of Florida’s Florida State University chapter, told lawmakers the current process works well.
UNF Spinnaker (01/13/22): Faculty raise concerns over COVID-19 in open letter to UNF Interim President Chally Amid students’ return to campus last week, UFF-UNF detailed a slew of requests ranging from COVID-19 policies to faculty support.
USF Oracle (01/12/22): UFF disagrees with USF’s approach to variant concerns Arthur Shapiro, president of the USF chapter of UFF, wrote an open letter Jan. 5 addressed to Law in which he requested the university hold the first three weeks of classes online.
WFSU News (01/12/22): Should public university presidential searches be shielded from the public? Sen. Jeff Brandes says yes. Long opposed to a closed search process are organizations like the Florida Education Association—the state’s largest teachers union as well as its partner group, the United Faculty of Florida, which represents faculty.
WESH 2 News (Orlando) (01/10/22): Students return to University of Central Florida classrooms as omicron spread continues “There’s no way that the provost or anyone making a decision about COVID policy or masking mandates will do anything to upset the governor or upset the Legislature,” Robert Cassanello, the union president, said.
WUSF Public Media (01/05/22): USF President Rhea Law urges masks and vaccinations as faculty calls for ‘aggressive’ COVID approach Arthur Shapiro, an education professor and president of the United Faculty of Florida USF chapter, made those recommendations in a Tuesday letter to Law. “Both the immediate and long-term severity of omicron infections are uncertain, and projections for our region and for our state in general are rather grim,” Shapiro wrote.
Tampa Bay Times (01/05/22): UF president Kent Fuchs announces he will step down soon University of Florida president W. Kent Fuchs… recently drew a firestorm of criticism over academic freedom issues, announced Wednesday he will step down soon to take a faculty position.
Florida Phoenix (01/04/22): Private colleges pivot to remote learning but FL public universities won’t go virtual despite COVID “We are severely disappointed with the overall response to COVID at higher education institutions,” said Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida.
Flagler Lice (01/04/22): Private Universities Switch to Remote Learning as Covid Surges, But Florida’s Public Universities Will Not “We don’t think that politics should be involved in local safety decisions,” Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida said.
The College Fix (01/04/22): ‘Baseless conspiracy’: DeSantis says no truth to donation for university appointment allegation “Our current boards of trustees across the state were required to give a campaign contribution to Ron DeSantis in the amount of $100,000,” Fried said at a town hall sponsored by the United Faculty of Florida professors’ union.
WPTV 5 (01/01/22): Taking a step back: US colleges returning to online classes Paul Ortiz, president of the campus chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, said older faculty members will be at higher risk, especially with no mask or vaccine mandates, which have been outlawed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. “We do not want our campus to become a super-spreader,” Ortiz said.
Tallahassee Democrat (12/30/21): COVID: Florida public university system officials urge masks, vaccinations amid omicron Saying it is “clear the pandemic is not over,” top Florida public university system officials are asking students and employees to wear masks on campus and get booster shots to protect against COVID-19 as the spring semester prepares to start.
ABC 7 (12/29/21): State university system officials urge masks, vaccinations The spring semester starts next week amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations driven, at least in part, by the highly-contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus.
WCJB 20 (12/28/21): United Faculty of Florida asking for online classes to start spring, State University System not budging “We really feel we can make the campus a much safer environment and do much to prevent the spread of COVID even with these external political pressure that are being placed upon us by Tallahassee,” said Ortiz.
WCJB 20 (12/28/21) Administrators are being asked by the Faculty Union at the University of Florida to start the spring semester online due to the rise in COVID cases In order to mitigate the spread of COVID, UFF asks that our campus begin the spring semester in a remote, online posture in terms of classroom delivery and work assignments for the first three weeks of the term in order to assess the proper next steps to take–as it appears that the omicron variant may escalate later in January. – Said UF Union President Paul Ortiz IN a letter to UF President Kent Fuchs.
88.5 WMNF (12/17/21): USF faculty want a statement on academic freedom from president and provost “There is no doubt that the first step of authoritarianism is always to silence the academics,” Gothard said. “But there’s also no doubt that the clearest and easiest way for authoritarianism to succeed is for the silent majority to stand by and do nothing. At UFF we’re not going to do that. We’re going to fight, we’re going to push back.”
Orlando Weekly (12/17/21): Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried accuses Ron DeSantis of extorting campaign donations out of university trustees At a town hall on education organized by the United Faculty of Florida union, speakers railed against reports that the state has stifled testimony from professors in ongoing cases and pressured researchers to destroy COVID-19 data.
The Palm Beach Post (12/17/21): DeSantis hits naughty or nice list while in campaign mode The three leading Democratic contenders for the party’s nomination for governor — Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried, and Annette Taddeo — ripped DeSantis for politicizing a pandemic, threatening academic freedom, and being focused more on presidential ambitions than governing Florida at a United Faculty of Florida for a virtual town hall this week.
The Gainesville Sun (12/16/21): Accreditation authority notifies UF of plans to dig deeper into academic freedom concerns “This is very much in the interest of students and parents in the state of Florida. External organizations like SACSCOC … play an important role as checks and balances against actions that are unduly politically influenced.” Meera Sitharam, VP of University of Florida- UFF.
AlterNet (12/16/21): DeSantis accused of leveraging University of Florida trustees for $100K donations: report …a virtual town hall hosted by the United Faculty of Florida Union. During the event, Fried shared details about the allegations. “I don’t know if this is as public. You all should know,” Fried said.
Business Insider India (12/16/21): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted $100k donations from University of Florida trustees or they’d lose their appointments, Democratic Florida commissioner alleges At least nine current members on boards of trustees across Florida’s university system have made donations to the DeSantis 2022 campaign or the state GOP, either in their own name, through their company, or via a spouse, according to state campaign finance records, which are available in a public database.
Tampa Bay Times (12/16/21): Accrediting group plans campus visit to examine allegations at UF Letter says there “may be” evidence of breaches affecting the school’s accreditation.
Florida Politics (12/15/21): Nikki Fried stands by charge that university trustees were required to donate $100K to Gov. DeSantis Her campaign on Wednesday was responding to an inquiry about Fried’s statement at a gubernatorial candidate forum Tuesday night hosted by the United Faculty of Florida professors’ union.
Politico (12/15/21): Democrats sound off against DeSantis, GOP in town hall …the Republican-controlled Legislature, including over the passage of HB 233, the contentious measure that requires an intellectual diversity survey on college campuses. They said Republicans want to suppress academic freedom and the First Amendment rights of professors.
Tampa Bay Times (12/15/21): Nikki Fried accuses DeSantis of pay-for-play appointments, but offers no proof “Our current board of trustees across our state were required to give a campaign contribution to Ron DeSantis, the amount of $100,000,” Fried said.
Florida Politics (12/15/21): Democratic gubernatorial candidates accuse Ron DeSantis of suppressing academic freedom, free speech Nikki Fried claimed DeSantis required trustees to donate $100,000 to keep their appointments.
WCJB 20 (12/14/21): Candidates for governor discuss academic freedom for professors at UFF debate “What republicans are trying to do here in Florida is what happens in places with no freedom. Big government overseeing what we learn and what we speak about. Freedom of education is essential so we don’t become like Venezuela, Cuba or China and as Governor you can’t count on me to stop that from happening.” Sen. Taddeo said these acts resemble communist countries.
Tallahassee Democrat (12/14/21): Democrats portray Gov. DeSantis as foe to academic freedom at faculty union forum The labor union representing university and college professors and instructors had also invited Gov. Ron DeSantis. He declined to attend alongside Congressman Charlie Crist of Pinellas County, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and state Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami.
Miami Herald (12/13/21): UF trustee chairman was back channel to DeSantis office over pandemic and remote classes Fuchs, who has said previously in interviews that he does not have the authority to challenge decisions from the DeSantis administration, sent Hosseini a draft email he was preparing for faculty announcing there would be no move to online classes. “Could you let me know if you have any changes?” Fuchs asked.
Pensacola News Journal (12/13/21): Pensacola State College teachers’ union, administration at impasse in salary negotiations ..representatives of the teachers’ union, the PSC Faculty Association, said they don’t want the college to raise salaries for select instructors without also raising pay for existing teachers.
The Gainesville Sun (12/13/21): Making the case for a vaccine mandate at the University of Florida Two employee-organized bodies at the University of Florida (the United Faculty of Florida and UF Graduate Assistants United) staged a protest on Aug. 20 at Tigert Hall to voice their demands for COVID vaccine requirements and other relevant COVID safety protocols for the UF campus.
WCJB20 (12/13/21) : The Week Ahead: Your stories to look out for in North Central Florida The United Faculty of Florida is hosting a 2022 Gubernatorial Town Hall with the Democratic candidates featuring US representative Charlie Christ, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, and State Senator Annette Taddeo.
CBS 4 News (12/10/21): UF teachers union demands an apology from UF Board of Trustees “The board of trustees had the gall to deny that there is a crisis of academic freedom at the University of Florida,” said Paul Ortiz president of UF’s chapter of UFF
Tampa Bay Times (12/09/21): UF president, faculty agree on changes to safeguard free speech “The broad perception now is that UF is less a public university and more a tool of a few highly placed Tallahassee politicians,” he said. “There’s no committee you can form to change that. That requires much broader commitment and recommitment to intellectual freedom.”
The Independent Florida Alligator (12/06/21): Academic freedom coalition steps forward as UF denies critical race theory concentration Congress and UF’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, both opened investigations to evaluate the school’s recent actions. UFF and UF’s faculty senate are calling for separate additional independent investigations.
The Independent Florida Alligator (12/06/21): UF Board of Trustees takes aim at faculty, unions over academic freedom scandal “If it was just faculty who’s upset about this, it would be one thing,” he said. “But in reality, it’s the whole community that’s appalled. It’s colleagues all across the country. If it was just a minority of faculty, it wouldn’t have received the kind of sustained attention that it is receiving.”
The College Fix (12/05/21): Complaint: U. Florida education profs not allowed to use ‘critical’ and ‘race’ in courses The latter essentially prohibits critical race theory in public institutions; for example, it bans mandatory trainings “which espouse certain concepts” such as “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race” and “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.”
WCJB 20 ABC (12/03/21): United Faculty of Florida professors request injuction against UF’s new conflict of policy In a statement, the professors who filled the motion say “it is high time for a court of law to stop the university from violating the first amendment rights of its faculty and abridging academic freedom.”
Gainesville Sun (12/03/21): UF board chairman defends administration in academic freedom controversy “This statement is an insult to the faculty who, under great duress, have guided the institution through the most challenging crisis in its history during the global pandemic. We expect an immediate apology,” [Paul] Ortiz [President of UFF-UCF Chapter] said.
Diverse Education (12/03/21): Professor Alleges Academic Freedom Violation After U of Florida Bars Critical Race Curriculum According to the grievance, university leaders rejected the title because they were worried anything pertaining to critical race theory would jeopardize the College of Education’s relationship with the state whose governor Ron DeSantis is vocally against the academic discipline.
Orlando Weekly (12/03/21): Faculty accuse UCF of hoarding millions in pandemic relief funds “After two years of arduous work, they are being told by administrators across Florida, in the same manner as at UCF, that despite millions of dollars in federal funding that came in throughout the pandemic, there isn’t enough money to pay these faculty a fair wage,” Gothard said during the news conference.
CLTampa (12/03/21): UCF faculty accuses school of hoarding $112 million in pandemic relief funds “They are sitting on over $112 million in unspent dollars. Some of that funding is set aside to provide relief for employees during the pandemic,” said Robert Cassanello, president of the UCF faculty union and an associate professor of history.
WFTV 9 ABC (12/02/21): UCF faculty members pushing university to use federal assistance to boost pay University of Central Florida faculty members say the university refuses to pay them a fair wage, despite sitting on more than $100 million in federal assistance it received during the pandemic.
Newsweek (12/02/21): Univ. of Florida Accused of Renaming ‘Critical Race’ Study Over Fear of Offending Lawmakers The tension between College of Education faculty and university administrators had been brewing for months, with administrators from the Provost’s Office having discussions with the professors about two recent bills from the Florida Legislature, the complaint said.
NPR 90.7 WMFE (12/02/21): University of Central Florida faculty call on school to release millions in CARES Act funding for raises, bonuses “What UCF employees need is direct relief as we are exiting the second year of the pandemic. The president and provost of UCF has showered UCF faculty and employees with praise and we have heard how proud they are of us. But talk is cheap.” said UFF-UCF President Robert Cassanello.
Ceng News (12/02/21): University of California, Berkeley Fearing offending legislators, the University of Florida is accused of renaming a study on critical race Hаss told the fаculty members thаt the college wаs viewed fаvorаbly by the stаte, аnd thаt аdministrаtors were recommending “аvoiding аny issue thаt might jeopаrdize the relаtionship.
The Washington Newsday (12/02/21): The University of Florida has been accused of renaming a study on critical race in order to avoid offending legislators. Conservatives, on the other hand, have accused this framework of being deliberately divisive and “anti-white.”
Associated Press / Washington Post / Kenosha News and KOB4 (12/02/21): Complaint: UF wants to ax ‘critical race’ from study title The grievance is seeking to stop the university’s attempt “to eliminate and/or whitewash” critical race theory from the curriculum.
WTSP 10 Tampa Bay (12/01/21): Union says UF wanted professors to remove words like ‘critical’ and ‘race’ from syllabi “Faculty members in the College of Education were informed by the associate provost and college administrators that they would not approve a concentration of study because it includes the words ‘critical’ and ‘race’ and advised changing syllabi and course descriptions to appease the Governor,” the United Faculty of Florida chapter wrote.
CBS 4 News (12/01/21): UF teachers union says UF has a new violation of academic freedom “We were a jim crow university this is what makes what happens in the college of education more disturbing,” said [Paul] Ortiz.
WCJB 20 (12/02/21): University of Florida professor files academic freedom grievance after critical race curriculum was barred According to the grievance, UF Associate Professor Chris Busey was asked to change the title of his curriculum, which is on “Critical Studies in Race, Ethnicity, and Culture”. Specifically, Busey said leadership in the College of Education would not approve anything with “critical” and “race” in the title.
Miami Herald (12/01/21): Critical race theory becomes flash point for GOP, UF heading into legislative session “What’s next? Are we going to be telling the people in biology, you can teach evolution but don’t call it that?” UF College of Journalism and Communications professor Churchill Robert, the faculty union’s chief grievance officer, said in an interview Wednesday.
CBS 4 News (12/01/21) : Academic freedom grievance filed against UF over critical race curriculum “These intrusions into curricular matters represent an egregious and unprecedented violation of academic freedom,” the grievance says these actions, “Threaten to undermine faculty autonomy and tarnish the reputation of the University of Florida.”
Tampa Bay Times (12/01/21): At UF, someone used ‘critical’ and ‘race’ in a sentence. Trouble ensued. The reason: fear on the part of top UF administrators that the words “critical” and “race” in proximity might offend the Florida Legislature.
The Independent Florida Alligator (12/01/21): UF professor files grievance over school’s denial of critical race theory concentration title Busey and the United Faculty of Florida are requesting the university stop requiring faculty to eliminate an accepted area of study in relation to critical race theory from the curriculum.
The Chronicle of Higher Education (11/30/21): ‘It Just Felt Wrong’: U. of Florida Faculty Say Political Fears Stalled an Initiative on Race Chris Busey, who filed the grievance, told The Chronicle that the episode has been destabilizing and demoralizing. “I’ve never hid my identity as a race scholar. It was in my job talk. It was in my cover letter. It’s who I am as a scholar.” In other words, “You knew who I was when you hired me,” Busey said. “Don’t expect for me to change because Ron DeSantis said so.”
WCJB 20 (11/30/21): ‘I think we’re in a good spot now’: President Fuchs addresses controversy after UF professors barred from testifying against state Earlier the United Faculty of Florida at UF called for an independent body to make recommendations.
Tampa Bay Times (11/24/21): Amid free speech concerns, UF declares it is ‘free from undue influence’ Paul Ortiz, president of UF’s United Faculty of Florida chapter, said the scope of the task force was too narrow.
CBS 4 News (11/24/21): UF union leader says that the President’s Task Force’s final report is “inconclusive” “We’re disappointed, we’re looking for the independent review of violations of academic freedom at the University of Florida,” said Ortiz.
Inside Higher ED (11/24/21): U of Florida Denies Outside Influence, Adopts New Conflict Policy The university also said it “preserves and protects academic freedom and its concomitant responsibilities in regulation, operationalizes it in its bargaining agreement with the United Faculty of Florida, and its UFolio process for the approval of outside activities.”
UF News (11/23/21): UF affirms no external influence in faculty expert testimony decisions The full report can be found here https://assets.webadmin.ufl.edu/media/SACSCOC%20Special%20Report.pdf.
WCJB 20 (11/23/21): University of Florida releases results of task force and response to inquiry on conflict of interest policy Requests will only be denied “when clear and convincing evidence establishes that such testimony would conflict with an important and particularized interest of the university…” or if there is a conflicting time commitment.
The Crows Nest at USF St. Petersburg (11/22/21): Campus comeback: Recapping this fall’s biggest news
LSU Reveille (11/18/21): Faculty across Southeast say academic freedom being threatened by university administrations and state governments Professors across the region have raised alarms about actions from upper administrations or state governments that threaten faculty free speech and autonomy.
National Education Association [NEA] (11/18/21) : Florida Faculty Stand Up For Academic Freedom Hours after a United Faculty of Florida (UFF) press conference earlier this month that detailed the University of Florida (UF)’s recent attacks on academic freedom and free speech, university administrators reversed course.
Tampa Bay Times (11/18/21): Congressional committee to investigate UF as academic freedom flap widens The House Committee on Oversight and Reform cites concerns that “UF is censoring its faculty based on viewpoint.”
The Gainesville Sun (11/16/21): UF must take a stand against political pressure On Nov. 5, under immense pressure from faculty, alumni, the media, current students and more, UF President Kent Fuchs reversed the school’s decision, allowing the three professors to testify.
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/15/21): Alachua County Commission postpones vote on UF’s Campus Development Agreement due to affordable graduate housing Rent-burdened graduate students may be put in even more dangerous situations if the villages are closed, Rachel Hartnett, GAU co-president and a doctoral student in the Department of English, said. “We know that there are students living in unsafe or hazardous conditions because of this,” Hartnett said.
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/15/21): Students, faculty unite to protest amid academic freedom controversy “We don’t care that they reversed their decision,” said Rachel Wolfrey, UF College Democrats spokesperson. “We don’t think that that’s enough by any means.”
WUFT NPR (11/15/21): UF students and faculty protest First Amendment concerns Sean Trainor, a lecturer of writing and public speech and UFF-UF member, spoke during the protest and said that the support from students was more than welcome. “When students want to participate, when they are concerned for situations faculty are facing, that’s great,” Trainor said before his speech.
The Gainesville Sun (11/15/21): Faculty must have freedom to work without political interference The Retired Faculty of the University of Florida board of directors… We recommend that, as a first step, the task force be expanded to include designees of the UF Senate president and the United Faculty of Florida president.
WCJB Gainesville (11/12/21): ‘UF works because we do’: Faculty, students protest conflict of interest policy and task force “For me the question of the task force isn’t a question of the composition,” [Sean] Trainor said. “It’s a question of principle. An institution that has engaged in wrongdoing shouldn’t be investigating its own mistakes. Trainor said the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) and UF Faculty Senate will meet on Wednesday to discuss an independent investigation. [Video 00:00-01:56]
The Gainesville Sun (11/12/21): Protest on the street and in writing show continued concern at UF over academic freedom “The present moment provides the university with an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to academic freedom,” the professors wrote in the letter to Fuchs.
CBS Channel 4 News (Gainesville) (11/12/21): Faculty, students, and staff hold a protest on university ave “The union plans to file a chapter grievance talking about various violations of the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement,” said Meera Sitharam vice president’s at UF’S chapter of United Faculty of Florida (UFF). . [Video 00:00 – 01:48]
WCJB Gainesville (11/11/21): United Faculty of Florida protest UF’s conflict of interest policy The United Faculty of Florida are expressing their dissatisfaction with the University of Florida’s response to professors being blocked from testifying against the state. [Video 00:00 – 00:32]
Tampa Bay Times (11/10/21): Faculty union calls on academic groups to investigate UF “We consider this a victory for our members, our union, and all faculty and students at the University of Florida, but our fight for academic freedom and free speech is far from over,” [Elizabeth Dale, a member of UF’s faculty union] said in the union’s news release.
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/10/21): Giving Gators boycott donations to UF following academic freedom controversy UF alumni expressed their disagreement with UF in tweets that announced their decision to halt donations until the university was back on the “right side of academic freedom,” said Paul Ortiz, United Faculty of Florida president.
The Miami Herald (11/08/21): Professors sue over conflict of interest policy despite UF’s reversing its decision Faculty members, it says, were not employed “to be mouthpieces for a particular administration’s — or any administration’s — point of view.”
The Independent Florida Alligator (11/08/21): UF barring professor testimony raises political questions “They don’t really represent the people of Florida,” Ortiz said. “They represent their own corporate interests.”
CBS Channel 4 News (11/08/21) : Teachers union leader says UF hasn’t met all demands “Why were these faculty singled out, that’s what we still need to understand,” said Ortiz.
Jacksonville Business Journal (11/08/21): UF reverses course on professors’ testimony The original decision had riled faculty members and put school administrators under scrutiny.
The Oracle (11/07/21) : USF faculty union decries UF’s suppression of academic freedom rights The United Faculty of Florida (UFF) USF chapter expressed its disappointment with UF preventing three of its faculty members from testifying in a lawsuit, citing the decision as a violation of community rights.
Orlando Weekly (11/07/21) : University of Florida backs off from attempt to control professors’ freedom to testify In response to the growing scrutiny earlier this week, University President Kent Fuchs said the professors could testify if they didn’t get paid or use school resources.
Flagler Live (11/07/21): UF Backs Off Gag Order on 3 Professors Testifying in Challenge to Restrictive Voting Law “Professors Smith, McDonald and Austin are renowned experts in the field of voting rights. They are also members of our faculty union. Since Oct. 13, leaders of our grievances team, as well as our executive committee, have met around the clock with these three courageous faculty members,…
Local 10 News [South FL] (11/07/21): This Week in South Florida Full Episode: November 7, 2021 | University of Florida faculty union VP Meera Sitharam “Things began to change at UF since March 2020, with administration trying to police educators.. its ethically corrupt…” [11:30- 20:55]
Miami Herald (11/05/21): UF controversy is latest chapter in long conflict between politics, academic freedom Those concerns grew late last month when it was learned that the University of Florida fast-tracked the hiring of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ divisive surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, into a tenured position at the medical school.
The Gainesville Sun (11/05/21): UF faculty union sticks by its list of demands on academic freedom “This impacts all Floridians and all Americans,” Ortiz said. “As advocates of civil liberties and as union members, we feel that the University of Florida — its denial of intellectual freedom — is an outrageous blow to academic freedom that gravely threatens our democracy.”
Tampa Bay Times (11/05/21); UF faculty union calls for boycotts over academic freedom Faculty union leaders at the University of Florida called on donors Friday to withhold their contributions until the school takes steps to assert its independence from state politicians.
WUSF Public Media (11/05/21): The UF faculty union urges a halt to donations as support mounts for professors over free speech The United Faculty of Florida made the demand on Friday in response to university leaders prohibiting three professors from being paid as expert witnesses in a lawsuit challenging a new Florida elections law that critics say harms voting rights.
The Miami Times (11/05/21): UF professors can now testify in voting law case University president reverses course under pressure | After the announcement, Ortiz commended the administration for reversing its earlier decision but called for an increased commitment to academic freedom.
The Washington Post (11/05/21): Professors sue University of Florida, claiming free speech restraints The complaint by the professors contends the university is discriminating against them based on viewpoints they wish to express, and by trying to prevent them from offering expert testimony on issues of overwhelming public importance, UF violated their First Amendment rights.
AP News (11/05/21): University changes course; professors may testify in lawsuit Not allowing them to testify would be “an attack on all of us,” said Paul Ortiz, a history professor who is president of the union chapter at the university.
Bradenton Herald (11/05/21): UF reversing decision that barred professors from testifying in case against state That change was not enough for faculty union leaders, who on Friday called on donors to withhold contributions until the school takes steps to affirm its support for academic freedom and assert its independence from political influence.
Miami Herald (11/05/21): Is tussle over tenure looming for Florida universities? Proposal is being debated Some faculty leaders contend the proposal sends a chilling message at a time when Florida’s commitment to academic freedom is under question.
WFSU News (11/05/21): UF’s evolving policies on professors testifying in state cases are drawing conservative and liberal concerns about academic freedom “Academic freedom and free speech allows students and scholars to challenge ideas and to use our discoveries and expertise for the public good without fear of reprisal,” said Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida and a professor at Florida Atlantic University.
CNN Newsource (11/05/21) : University of Florida reverses decision, will allow professors to testify as paid experts in voting rights case The union representing faculty on campus, United Faculty of Florida-University of Florida, called today’s announcement a positive step forward. “However, UFF-UF is looking for a clear and unambiguous commitment to academic freedom going forward,” said Paul Ortiz, UFF-UF president.
The Gainesville Sun (11/05/21) : University of Florida President Fuchs reverses decision blocking professors’ testimony against state It is an abrupt change of course following blistering criticism across the university community, from noted academics across the nation and amid a probe by the accreditation authority essential for student aid.
Politico (11/05/21): University of Florida reverses on professors testifying against DeSantis-backed voting bill Before Fuchs’ about-face, University of Florida faculty members called for drastic steps against the state’s flagship school, including asking donors to stop sending their cash to the university and to allow professors to be able to testify without strings attached.
The New York Times (11/05/21): University of Florida Reverses Course to Allow Professors to Testify Against State Facing a storm of protest, the university said three professors could testify as expert witnesses in a voting-rights lawsuit against the state.
WESH 2 Channel (11/05/21): After UF blocks testimony, professors across Florida worry about freedom of speech A spokesperson for the University said, “Regarding the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges: like SACS, the University of Florida places the highest importance on freedom of speech and academic freedom. We welcome the opportunity to address all questions.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education (11/05/21) : After Scathing Criticism, U. of Florida Will Let Professors Testify Against the State The reversal follows a week of turmoil on the campus spurred by administrators’ decisions to bar faculty members from serving as expert witnesses.
The Washington Post (11/04/21): Opinion: The scandal involving Ron DeSantis and the silenced professors just got worse Mr. DeSantis’s spokeswoman echoed that argument in her statement, saying the Constitution “guarantees the right to free speech, but there is no right to profit from speech.”
Tampa Bay Times (11/04/21): Proposal would weaken protections for tenured faculty at Florida universities “I could be an extremely high-performing employee, but if I say or do something that displeases the powers that be, if I didn’t have academic freedom, I could be let go,” said Meera Sitharam, vice president of the United Faculty of Florida chapter at UF.
The Washington Post (11/04/21): Opinion: The University of Florida’s decision to silence its professors is an assault on academic freedom The American Association of University Professors, condemning the decision “in the strongest possible terms,” noted that among the stated missions of the university is its obligation “to share the benefits of its research and knowledge for the public good.”
The Miami Herald (11/03/21): UF restricted five other professors’ participation in legal cases against the state These actions show how the University of Florida has gradually moved toward suppressing the voices of its scholars who want to offer legal or subject-matter expertise in cases that challenge the policies advanced by the governor or Legislature.
The Washington Post (11/03/21): Opinion: We work for the people of Florida. That’s why we can’t let the University of Florida silence us on a voting rights law Our job as public university professors and researchers is not to be mouthpieces for a particular administration’s — or any administration’s — point of view.
The Independent Alligator (11/03/21): Five additional professors say UF tried silencing them from testifying against state “We gave the university numerous opportunities before the story hit the media to change course and do the right thing and support academic freedom and the university decided not to do that,” said Paul Ortiz, the president of UF’s chapter of the United Faculty of Florida.
NPR (11/03/21): Some Florida professors are blocked from testifying in suits against the state “I don’t see how the voting rights law is a matter of against the interest of the University of Florida or frankly against the interest of the Governor. We should all be ensuring free and fair elections and access to the polls.” said Candi Churchill, Executive Director of United Faculty of Florida. [Audio 2:00 -2:14]
The Chronicle of Higher Education (11/02/21) : ‘I’m Speechless’ What prompted the U. of Florida to tell professors not to testify? “To Meera Sitharam, a vice president of UF’s faculty union and a chief negotiator… It seemed like a way for the university to “police” faculty members’ outside activities..”
WESH 2 News Orlando (11/02/21): After UF blocks testimony, professors across Florida worry about freedom of speech “The professors and educators need to be able to teach the truth based on science and facts not on a political party or ideology of whoever is in charge at the moment.” said Candi Churchill, Executive Director of United Faculty of Florida.
Florida Politics (11/02/21): UF in political firestorm over decision to block professors’ testimony on voting lawsuit The union representing 25,000 higher education employees, United Faculty of Florida, urged administrators to “get out of the way and allow faculty to tell the truth based on their expertise and research.”
WGFL 4 News (11/01/21): Three UF professors were denied permission from UF officials to testify in a state case “None of us want to embarrass the University of Florida, the faculty here the students we love the university but we understood that right away the university was putting faculty and students in jeopardy,” said Ortiz.
Tampa Bay Times (11/01/21): UF’s big mistake on academic freedom | Editorial It’s not hard to guess what’s going on, a combination of political pressure and some state funding hanging in the balance.
The Washington Post (11/01/21): Opinion: Why did Florida ban state professors from challenging Ron DeSantis’s voting law? Wasserman Schultz noted that such activity by professors was routinely approved in the past, adding that the only difference now is “who is governor.”
Orlando Sentinel (11/01/21) : A choice for the University of Florida: Academic freedom or government stooge Rest in peace, academic freedom, because the University of Florida has decided faculty members may speak their minds only when it’s in the best interests of the Gators and the governor.
WMFE 90.7 (NPR) (11/01/21) : University of Florida prohibits professors from testifying Organizations speaking out in support of the professors include the United Faculty of Florida, a Union representing more than 25-thousand faculty members at Florida’s public universities, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
Inside Higher ED (11/01/21) : U of Florida Bars Professors From Helping Lawsuit Against the State The University of Florida banned three professors from helping the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state opposing Florida’s new restrictions on voting rights.
UK Today News (10/31/21): University of Florida bars professors from testifying against DeSantis-backed voting law Meanwhile, the United Faculty of Florida, a union representing the state’s faculty staff, said that the school’s claim that the professors’ testimony would pose conflict is “outrageous.” “UF does not exist to protect DeSantis or any party,” it said on Twitter on Friday.
The Gainesville Sun (10/31/21) : UF professors could testify in voting rights case if they are unpaid, spokeswoman says “They undermine the university’s adherence to principles of academic freedom and the constitutional rights of UF’s faculty, staff, and students,” wrote UFF President Andrew Gothard and Executive Director Candi Churchill in a Friday email to Fuchs.
The Washington Post (10/30/21): University of Florida bars faculty members from testifying in voting rights lawsuit against DeSantis administration The University of Florida barred three faculty members from testifying for plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging a voting-restrictions law enthusiastically embraced by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), which activists say makes it harder for racial minorities to vote.
The New York Times (10/29/21): Florida Bars State Professors From Testifying in Voting Rights Case Three University of Florida professors have been barred from assisting plaintiffs in a lawsuit to overturn the state’s new law restricting voting rights… The ban is an extraordinary limit on speech that raises questions of academic freedom and First Amendment rights.
Florida Phoenix (10/27/21): ‘A massive blow to 8 million students’: Biden’s free community college plan on the chopping block? “Our sense is that, as with most major projects of this type, the provision may fail due to it’s overall cost,” Gothard told the Phoenix.
National Education Association (10/21/21): Paid Family Leave for Educators: Now, Please! Thanks to the faculty union at the University of Florida (UF), for example, all UF employees now have eight weeks of paid parenting leave, which can be used by mothers and fathers, after birth or adoption. The new provision is both big and insufficient, says Hélène Huet, a member of the United Faculty of Florida-UF bargaining team.
National Education Association (10/21/21): NEA higher ed members find supporter in U.S. Rep. Katie Porter
Tallahassee Democrat (10/06/21): Free speech survey of Florida college students continues to rile critics, even ‘Doonesbury’ An “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity assessment” in the works to investigate political speech on Florida’s public university and college campuses continues to cause controversy.
Inside Higher ED (10/04/21) : St. Petersburg College Faculty Unionize Leaders of the union campaign said faculty rights at the community college have eroded.
Tampa Bay Times (10/01/21): St. Petersburg College faculty vote to unionize Faculty members at St. Petersburg College have voted 193-56 to establish a union, forming the 34th chapter of the United Faculty of Florida.
Telemundo 49 (30/9/21): Exigen más medidas contra el COVID-19 en USF Un grupo de estudiantes y empleados de la universidad dicen que es tiempo que líderes de la universidad deben exigir el uso de máscaras o vacunación. [hable en español – 0:00-2:10]
Bay News 9 – Spectrum News (9/29/21): Faculty, students demand more COVID safety protocols at USF Upgraded ventilation and air conditioning improvements in all buildings is one of the things United Faculty of Florida and Graduate Assistants United at USF are pushing for.
WTSP Channel 10 Tampa Bay (9/29/21): University of South Florida faculty and students demand stricter COVID-19 protocols Thursday, some students and faculty members at the University of South Florida will participate in a rally demanding more be done to keep them safe on campus. The event is being organized by graduate assistants Krystle Lemonias and Marlon Wilson, who are also organizers of the USF chapter of the union, Graduate Assistants United.
Florida Phoenix (9/24/21): New college survey for “intellectual freedom” has already spawned a lawsuit “Any law that relies on the good will of legislators and politicians over the protections of the Constitution is not a good law,” said Andrew Gothard, the UFF president.
AFT (9/23/21): Florida humanities faculty fear for the profession “If they can dismiss someone with Dr. Walton’s credentials without a reason, then nobody is comfortable about their jobs going forward,” said former chapter president and biology professor Debra Hicks, in an interview with the Orlando Weekly.
WMFE 90.7 (NPR) (9/09/21): Interview: Professor And Union Negotiator On Lake-Sumter State College’s Decision To Fire Him Lake-Sumter State College has fired one of the faculty’s chief negotiators working on their first union contract with the college this summer.
MyCBS4 News (Gainesville) (9/09/21): Alachua County pushes UF and Santa Fe College to require masks Cornell pointed out County Commissioners received testimony from UF experts recommending masking as an effective tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
WGFL CBS 4 (Gainesville) (9/08/21): United Faculty of Florida seeking public records regarding COVID safety The UFF said in an effort to safeguard the health of Florida public universities and state college students and staff, they sent a request for public records to Governor DeSantis’ office, the State Board of Education, the Board of Governors, and to more than 24 university and college administrators.
Orlando Sentinel (9/07/21): Reinstate Lake-Sumter State College professor, whose dismissal stinks of union-busting | Editorial No wonder Lake-Sumter’s faculty voted overwhelmingly in 2018 to form a union, over the opposition from college administration.
The Florida Channel (9/02/21): News Briefing [Video] A circuit court judge issued a written ruling in the school mask case, barring the DeSantis administration from banning mask mandates or seeking to punish local school boards that adopt such mandates [Video 0:00- 1:03].
Orlando Weekly (8/31/21): Florida university leaders say their ‘hands are tied’ and they cannot mandate masks A day earlier, Graduate Assistants United, a union of Florida State University graduate assistants, led a small march through campus to demand more-stringent measures.
Spectrum News 1 (8/30/21): Florida State University president shoots down calls for campus mask mandate “I will not be able to live with myself if I have to bury one of my students or colleagues this year or, God forbid, they have to bury one of their children,” GAU member Roxie Brookshire told the board.
Sun-Sentinel (8/30/21): Florida universities face constraints amid COVID surge Robert Cassanello, president of the United Faculty of Florida union at the University of Central Florida… “We would like to follow the brave school boards of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties who have defied mask policies in the state and defied the governor,” Cassanello said.
Spectrum News 13 (8/27/21): UCF faculty union concerned about COVID-19 pandemic safety measures United Faculty of Florida at UCF president Robert Cassanello points to UCF’s COVID decision triggers list. This list outlines what would cause the university to increase restrictions, such as virtual learning. Last year’s list also included case numbers.
Public News Service (8/27/21): FL Supporters Amplify Need for Biden’s Free Community College Plan During a Thursday virtual news conference by the labor union United Faculty of Florida, Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., said the change would make drastic improvements in students’ lives, who are often saddled with debt.
Florida Politics (8/26/21): ‘A game changer’: Florida Dems, faculty union back Joe Biden free college plan Soto spoke Thursday with Florida Sen. Janet Cruz of Tampa and Rep. Tracie Davis of Jacksonville, who joined United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard and UFF organizer Adela Ghadimi to discuss the plan.
The Independent Florida Alligator (8/25/21): UF disappoints students and faculty: then and now Frankly, many faculty and graduate assistants have felt frustrated and disrespected during these times. Article written By Steven Kirn, Co-chair of combined UFF-UF/GAU COVID Task Force.
WPTV 5 – West Palm Beach (8/23/21): Florida Atlantic University faculty hold rally, petition administration to take action against COVID-19 “We are very unhappy with the lack of a mask mandate. We are unhappy with the lack of vaccinations sites on campus, and we are unhappy with not having the option of putting our classes fully online,” said Deandre Poole, United Faculty of Florida-FAU president.
The Independent Florida Alligator (8/23/21): ACPS returns to an uncertain Fall, P.K. Yonge remains mask-optional as youth COVID-19 cases surge “All students have a right to safe spaces for education,” according to the United Faculty of Florida at UF letter. “Local schools and campuses need to be empowered to make decisions that protect their students, faculty and staff.”
University Press (8/23/21): UFF-FAU holds protest against university administration’s response to COVID-19 safety protocols The FAU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, better known as UFF-FAU, organized the protest to demand changes in the university’s COVID-19 safety policy.
Miami New Times (8/23/21): FIU Professors Sign Letter Demanding Vaccine and Mask Mandates Martha Meyer, a professor and president of FIU’s chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, says instructors are especially concerned that state universities are returning to normal amid Florida’s record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases and reports that the Delta variant is linked to more severe cases in younger people.
WCJB 20 – Gainesville, FL (8/21/21): University of Florida faculty want to join Alachua County Public Schools in mandating masks for students and staff Officials with the United Faculty of Florida at UF are pushing university leaders to follow suit by requiring masks on campus. “I’m asking the University of Florida, don’t take a leap of faith do the right thing,” said UFF-UF Co-President Paul Ortiz.
University Press (8/21/21) : FAU’s United Faculty of Florida chapter to hold on-campus protest The FAU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF), a faculty union, will protest against the universities’ lack of action in response to Covid-19 on the first full-day back on campus.
redefinED (8/12/21): BROWARD GIVEN UNTIL FRIDAY TO REVERSE MASK MANDATE, PINELLAS SCHOOL BOOSTS GRADE FROM F TO A, AND MORE The United Faculty of Florida is calling on Gov. DeSantis to require face masks on all state college and university campuses. Tallahassee Democrat.
Tampa Bay Times (8/20/21) : Florida universities need more power to protect against COVID, faculty say “I’m sorry, but you don’t play with people’s safety and lives,” Manning said. “I think it’s fantastically irresponsible, given the extraordinary virulence of the delta variant.”
NEA Today (8/18/21) : Florida Faculty Fighting for Free Speech and Ideas “The goal is to intimidate faculty and students into holding one political viewpoint, and that would be the viewpoint of the political party in power,” says Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, the statewide NEA-affiliated faculty union.
Tallahassee Democrat (8/12/21): FAMU President Larry Robinson: Masks ‘expected’ in buildings on campus The president of the United Faculty of Florida sent a letter to DeSantis Wednesday, urging him to mandate indoor use of masks, to require all students…
WJXT News4Jax (8/12/21): UNF faculty members call for teaching flexibility as delta variant spreads News4Jax asked Elizabeth Brown, vice president of United Faculty of Florida, about the rally’s objective. “The goal today is to allow faculty some…
UNF Spinnaker (8/11/21): UNF faculty responds to the announcement of Szymanski’s new role with a call to focus on the pandemic Spinnaker also reached out to the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) here at UNF to hear their thoughts on this big news, and they released the following…
The Crow’s Nest (8/11/21): Students “strongly urged” to abide COVID-19 precautions, faculty uncertain According to Business Professor Robert Welker, USF members of the United Faculty of Florida union will discuss a bargaining proposal with university
Fox13Today Tampa Bay (8/11/21): Faculty union wants mask mandate on Florida college campuses The United Faculty of Florida is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to call for a mask mandate on all college and university campuses in the state. The federal…
WCJB.COM (8/11/21) : The United Faculty of Florida is asking the Governor and Universities to set more COVID-19 protocols The United Faculty of Florida is calling on the Governor and State Universities to institute more COVID-19 protocols. The union wants all…
Tallahassee Democrat (8/11/21): Statewide faculty union urging masks, vaccines, online classes on Florida campuses “No one should have to choose between their lives and their education or paycheck,” union’s leader says.”
News Service of Florida (08/05/21) : ‘Intellectual Freedom’ Law Faces Constitutional Challenge“
WLRN 91.3FM (8/05/21): https://www.wlrn.org/news/2021-08-05/florida-intellectual-freedom-law-faces-constitutional-challenge The United Faculty of Florida on Wednesday joined the lawsuit, which was filed last month in federal court in Tallahassee.
WTSP (Ch.10) Tampa-St. Petersburg (8/04/21): Florida university union joins lawsuit against state’s ‘intellectual diversity’ law …challenging a recent law that calls for a survey of beliefs of university and college professors. United Faculty of Florida announced it would join other students and faculty members in challenging the ‘intellectual..
WCJB (ABC)-Gainesville (8/04/21) : United Faculty of Florida joins lawsuit filed by public colleges …representing staff at UF and other universities is joining a lawsuit challenging a new state law. United Faculty of Florida is joining the lawsuit first filed by faculty members and students at public colleges…
Inside Higher Ed (8/03/21): Cries of Union Busting at a Florida College Lake-Sumter State College in Florida opposed the unionization of its full-time faculty. Then it refused to meet with the new union virtually for contract negotiations during the pandemic.
Orlando Weekly (7/28/21): Lake-Sumter State College faculty on edge after the sudden dismissal of a tenured professor and key union member LSSC’s United Faculty of Florida has been recognized by the school following an election. They see a precedent that could tear up the very foundation of higher ed employment and make union actions little more than a pipe dream.
88.5 WMNF (11/11/20) Following end of federal oversight, a Catholic University in Florida said it will no longer recognize faculty union, leaving teachers vulnerable Faculty at Saint Leo University in Pasco County are worried about job security and other protections after a surprise decision from the school’s board of trustees stripped them of union protection.
Inside Higher ED (11/10/20) Against Face-to-Face Teaching Mandates In Florida, for instance, faculty unions at three public universities… are filing grievances against their institutions regarding in-person instruction. These actions follow other forms of outreach by professors to their administrations.