UFF asks you to contact legislators to retain the integrity of Florida’s university system

Yesterday, the UFF Steering Committee joined the Board of Governors and the state’s faculty senates in opposing Senate Joint Resolution 2308 (SJR 2308), a proposed constitutional amendment that would abolish the Board of Governors and replace it with a small group with far less authority. This proposed constitutional amendment would make the education commissioner an elected position once again, but for the university system, it would return the state to the days when the legislature not only tried to micromanage universities but had the clear constitutional authority to do so.

Six years ago, voter in Florida created a constitutional body to insulate the universities from the type of legislative interference that has been the historical norm, from witchhunts investigating individual faculty and students for supposed Communism and homosexuality in the 1960s to foisting various professional schools on the system based on political rather than educational priorities. Before voters created the Board of Governors, former universities Chancellor Charlie Reed called the state’s higher-education chaos a “goat rodeo.”

This year, we finally started to see the Board of Governors stiffen its spine and speak up for stable and predictable university funding. This is clearly a retaliatory move by some legislators.For the St. Pete Times’s view on the political dynamics, you can read its editorial, Ken Pruitt’s Destructive Fit of Pique.

SJR 2308 needs the approval of 60% of legislators in both houses. It sailed through a senate committee yesterday, but it has to go through the House Schools and Learning Council, which will probably consider it tomorrow.

Please contact members of the House Schools and Learning Council — especially your own representative. DO NOT USE UNIVERSITY E-MAIL ACCOUNTS, COMPUTERS, OR PHONES OR THE UNIVERSITY COMPUTER NETWORK. If you click on an e-mail address, it will automatically insert an appropriate subject line into your e-mail program.

Make an e-mail or phone call very short, and here is the message you need to send:

  • The Board of Governors is doing its job the way voters wanted it to when creating it in 2002.
  • Senate Joint Resolution 2308 will harm the integrity of Florida’s university system.
  • The House should strip the Board of Governors provision from Senate Joint Resolution 2308 or reject it entirely.

Contact information for the House Schools and Learning Council members:

Chair, Joe H. Pickens (H-21) 850-488-0665 joe.pickens@myfloridahouse.gov

Vice Chair, Trey Traviesa (H-56) 850-488-9910 trey.traviesa@myfloridahouse.gov

Democratic Ranking Member, Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall (H-109) 850-488-0625 dorothy.bendross-mindingall@myfloridahouse.gov

Thad Altman (H-30) 850-488-9720 thad.altman@myfloridahouse.gov

Marti Coley (H7) 850-488-2873 marti.coley@myfloridahouse.gov

Anitere Flores (H114) 850-488-2831 anitere.flores@myfloridahouse.gov

Clay Ford (H3) 850-488-0895 clay.ford@myfloridahouse.gov

Bill Heller (H-52) 850-488-5719 bill.heller@myfloridahouse.gov

Martin Kiar (H-97) 850-487-1588 martin.kiar@myfloridahouse.gov

John Legg (H-46) 850-488-5522 john.legg@myfloridahouse.gov

Janet Long (H-51) 850-488-6197 janet.long@myfloridahouse.gov

Charles McBurney (H-16) 850-488-4171 charles.mcburney@myfloridahouse.gov

Seth McKeel (H-63) 850-488-2977 seth.mckeel@myfloridahouse.gov

Bill Proctor (H-20) 850-488-2977 bill.proctor@myfloridahouse.gov

David Simmons (H-37) 850-488-2231 david.simmons@myfloridahouse.gov

Shelley Vana (H-85) 850-488-4791 shelley.vana@myfloridahouse.gov


Comments are closed.