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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
5 April 2018
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IN THIS ISSUE

The UFF Senate

The UFF Senate is the policy-making body of the United Faculty of Florida. Twice a year, faculty from colleges and universities across the state meet in central Florida to hear reports and set policy. This spring, over the February 24 - 25 weekend, 136 senators met in Tampa. As reported in the 8 March 2018 Biweekly, Karen Morian was elected president (to complete UFF President Liz Davenport's term after her departure for Alabama) by acclamation when the other candidate, UCF Chapter President Scott Launier, stepped aside.

Here are two highlights from the Senate meeting.

  • A Presentation on Micro-aggressions. Fans of Victorian novels should be familiar with class-based micro-aggressions, but the focus here was on the race- and gender-based varieties. For more, see below or click here.
  • Gun Violence Research. One of the problems with the gun controversy is the lack of public health data on gun violence. The UFF Senate proposed that the FEA address this deficiency. For more, see below or click here.
In addition, the University of Central Florida Chapter of UFF was a collaborator on a short documentary, Let My People Vote, on voting rights restoration in Florida. It will be screened at the Enzian Theatre in Orlando on Wednesday, April 11, at 1:15 pm, and the UCF Chapter is encouraging people to attend. Here is a trailer.

Meanwhile...

  • April is Sick Leave Pool month. The pool allows USF faculty and professionals to share the burden, and was one of the items UFF won in bargaining. For more on the Sick Leave Pool, see the USF Human Resources page on the Sick Leave Pool.
  • UFF Spring Social on April 20. UFF will hold a Spring Social on April 20, 11:30 am - 2 pm, on USF Tampa, in the Marshall Student Center, in the Sabal Room (to the right and around the corner from Top of the Palms). Everyone is invited for lunch and a chance to talk to union bigwigs. Bring a friend.
  • Grievance Workshop. The grievance process is the mechanism for dealing with contract violations. If your contractual rights and privileges were violated, you have thirty days to file a grievance - which is a claim that the contract was violated. If you are interested in the grievance process, or if you are interested in participating in it, come to the workshop. It is just before the Spring Social: April 20, 9 am - 11:30 am, on USF Tampa in the Marshall Student Center, in the Sabal Room.
And we would like to again thank everyone who voted in the last chapter election. As announced, one of the voters (John Abresch). UFF will select five more travel scholarship recipients at its April 20 Social.


Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in Tampa

The Chapter will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF Tampa in EDU 150. There will be sandwiches, snacks, sweets, and drinks: lunch is on us. Topics from the agenda include planning for the fall, teaching loads, and dealing with the Florida Legislature's mandates. The remaining meeting this semester will be the Spring Social on April 20, on USF Tampa, at the Marshall Student Colleague.

$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award five $ 500 Travel Scholarships for summer and fall (a sixth was be awarded to a UFF member who voted in the chapter election). This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by April 18, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Summer or Fall 2017 cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. The five recipients shall be selected by lot at the April 20 chapter meeting (& social). For more information, see the Travel Scholarship Flyer.

This initiative is part of our membership campaign. If you would like to become active in the UFF USF Membership Drive, contact the Membership Chair, Adrienne Berarducci (click here).

Join UFF Today!

Download, fill in, and mail the membership form. Benefits of membership include the right to run and vote in UFF chapter and statewide elections; representation in grievances (UFF cannot represent a non-member in a grievance or litigation); special deals in insurance, travel, legal advice, and other packages provided by our affiliates; free insurance coverage for job-related liability; and the knowledge you are supporting education in Florida. Come and join the movement.

Grievances

If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you have thirty days from the time you knew or should have known of the violation to file a grievance. If you are, and at the time of the violation were, a dues-paying member of the United Faculty of Florida, you have the right to union representation. To contact the UFF USF Grievance Committee, go to the online contact form. For more information, see our web-page on grievances; see also the main article (left).

Visit Us on Facebook

Visit the United Faculty of Florida at USF Facebook page. This page is a place where UFF members can exchange thoughts and ideas. The page is "public", but only dues-paying UFF members are eligible to post items on the page. If you are a UFF member, ask to join on the page, or contact the Communications Committee. The Committee will invite every UFF member that asks to join. So check us out. UFF members are welcome to join, and non-members are welcome to look.


A Presentation on Micro-aggressions

At the Senate meeting, Sachiko Tankei-Aminian, Professor of Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University, gave a presentation on Understanding Micro-Aggressions, Privilege, and Color-Blindness.

As the Biweekly observed in the 23 July 2015 article on Micro-Aggressions, we are creatures of habit, and we are often unaware of (or minimize) our unhelpful habits. One unhelpful habit is the micro-aggression, which could be defined as an action or statement that tends to reinforce the marginalized social status of its target. (I.e. "putting someone in their place.") Professor Tankei-Aminian said that the micro-aggression problem is often more unawareness rather than intention, and she showed a video on Micro-Aggressions on Everyday Life composed by Columbia University Education Professor Derald Sue, who described micro-aggressions as expressions of an unconscious worldview of superiority and inferiority. Getting out of the habit of micro-aggression involves some of the usual approaches to bad habits (e.g. vigilance and mindfulness), but also, since one may not be aware of one's own micro-aggressions, taking other peoples' perspectives seriously.

Social privileges are like micro-aggressions: people can take them for granted and not recognize that they're there. Professor Tankei-Aminian gave as an example her husband, who is an Iranian-American while she is Japanese-American. It is her husband who is scrutinized more closely by TSA when they fly. She played a video on white privilege that had an example of an African-American gardener whose employer had to assure the neighbors that yes, he belonged there. Once again, the fundamental problem was a lack of awareness of the problem.

She concluded with the War on Drugs, in which she contrasted overt and intentional racism with "color-blind ideology," in which policies that disproportionately disadvantage African-Americans (like the choice of which recreational pharmaceuticals to criminalize, and by how much) are not seen as racist because they have no (official) racist intent. She concluded with a clip on White Privilege and the Drug War.

A lot of this is unconscious, for the human mind is rather like Hogwarts, with shifting stairs, strange passageways, and who-knows-what in the Chamber of Secrets. If you do not master whatever lurks in those depths, it will master you.

Gun Violence Research

Gun violence is a significant public health problem in the United States, with 4.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015, according to a posting in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This includes accidents and suicides overlooked by the media as well as occasional mass shootings that get lots of coverage. Mass shootings may be a negligible public health problem (as compared to, say, suicides), but they are traumatic and they have been getting worse. There is now a major movement, especially among young people, to do something about gun violence in general and especially mass shootings in particular.

But what to do? Unlike other major public health problems, gun violence research has been severely limited by Washington politics. In 1996, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment, barring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from spending money on advocating gun control. In ensuing years, Congress made it clear that gun violence research was advocacy, and gun violence research has been very spotty ever since.

As a result, solutions proposed - from arming teachers to banning "assault rifles," are based on ideology as much as science. Prohibition is an example of what can happen when ideology drives public health policy, so what the U.S. needs is science.

In 2012, Jay Dickey (the author of the amendment) and Mark Rosenberg (a leading opponent) co-authored an opinion piece calling for the repeal of the amendment, and calling for more gun violence research. Again, the amendment does not actually ban the research, but its passage had that effect, and the hope is that repealing it would have the effect of encouraging and funding gun violence research.

In the aftermath of the Stoneman-Douglas shooting, the USF Chapter of the UFF resolved that the UFF USF Senate Delegation shall move a resolution condemning and opposing the Dickey Amendment's effect of restricting CDC and NIH supported research into gun violence. The motion was presented to the UFF Senate, which approved it, and now a similar resolution is to be presented to the fall Assembly of the Florida Education Association.

More recently, an omnibus spending bill "clarified" the restriction on gun violence research (on page 22 of a legislative report on the "Fix NICS" language, it says that "the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence"). But Politifact said, "Was the change ... momentous ...? Yes and no." The reality is that it is the political situation, not the language of the Dickey Amendment, that is the problem. It is likely that much more remains to be done, so the USF Chapter's endeavor to move the resolution at the Assembly will proceed.


LOGISTICS

Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, April 6, at noon, on USF Tampa, in EDU 150.

We will have lunch at the meeting. All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.

Membership: Everyone in the UFF USF System Bargaining unit is eligible for UFF membership: to join, simply fill out and send in the membership form.

NOTE: The USF-UFF Chapter website is http://www.uff.ourusf.org, and our e-mail address is uff@ourusf.org.

About this broadcast: This Newsletter was broadcast from uff.ourusf.org, hosted at ICDsoft.com, and is intended for all members of the UFF USF Bargaining unit (USF faculty and professionals at most departments). A (usually identical) version will be broadcast to USF-News and USF-Talk from mccolm@usf.edu.

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