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Richard Manning, candidate
Senator and Delegate


Information: I am an associate professor in the philosophy department. I earned my PhD from Northwestern University (1993) and a JD, from Northwestern University School of Law, before that (1985). I practiced law for a year before returning to graduate school, finding that I loved study, philosophy and the university far more than I loved being a hired gun for paying clients in a business context. Prior to arriving at USF in 2007, I taught at several large public institutions, including The University of Oregon, Ohio University, and Carleton University (in Ottawa, ON). Since then I have served at USF as a member and then chair of the CAS Faculty Council (2009-2013), and as a Faculty Senator (2015-present). I have also served the Tampa Bay community as member of the Board of Directors of WMNF Community Radio (2009-2015).

I am a firm believer in the value of public higher education, and regard a vital public higher education system as essential to the functioning of a just advanced democratic society. I also believe that a robust right of workers to organize and bargain collectively is essential to the just functioning of a capitalist society. But I believe, and believe there is ample evidence to support the claims, that public higher (and lower, for that matter) education is under threat, and that the power of workers to unionize is as well. These threats must be resisted.

A main mission of higher education in a democratic society is to produce individuals who are equipped to perform the critical role of voting, participating citizen. This mission is under direct attack by the current occupants of high government office, both at the state and federal levels, who embrace a neoconservative viewpoint which effectively holds that the sole role of education is to produce the laborer-consumers needed to feed an economic system that in fact increasingly dis-serves the needs and well being of all but the wealthy. The full implementation of this vision would reduce higher education to a form of vocational training., which ignores the virtues peculiar to citizenship, as well as the values of diversity and tolerance. The neoconservative message is underwritten theoretically by a rhetoric of “free” markets which are supposed foster the efficient production of wealth, where value is determined entirely by the economic choices people may make, without regard to the question whether these choices enhance the lives of those who make them, or anyone else, for that matter. This is a bankrupt theory, no matter how prevalent its acceptance may be.

One main strategy being employed by the dominant political group to actualize this vision is the denigration of the very idea of the kind of education that would enable citizens effectively to criticize the its ideology and to make choices that actually do enhance their lives and foster their real interests. Another strategy is an attack on organized labor, especially public sector labor, which potentially represents the most effective tool to protect the interests of workers and, for educators, their educational mission. Because of this dual attack on education and labor, I feel duty bound as an educator and citizen concern with justice to participate meaningfully in the UFF. For only by participation and active resistance can we protect the genuine mission of higher education and defend the ability of workers, including public educators, to realize their potential voice and power. I therefore ask that you vote for me to represent the USF UFF chapter and USF faculty in general as a UFF Senator.