UFF Home
UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
6 September 2012
Email not displaying properly? View it in your browser



As Beloit College observed in its annual reminder of how old we are getting, this is an important year: Justin Bieber and Dakota Fanning are in the Class of 2016.

Returning to Earth, the first UFF USF Chapter meeting of the semester is tomorrow Friday, at 12 noon in EDU 214 on USF Tampa. This is a critical year for higher education in Florida: universities are on the menu -- sorry, agenda -- for next spring's legislative session, and that legislature is being elected this fall. (Mark Danish, who is running for Florida House seat # 63, will speak at the meeting.) Meanwhile, UFF and the Administration will be bargaining the 2013 - 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement between you, the faculty and professionals of USF, and the Board of Trustees.

You can help out by Joining Today! Download, fill out and send in 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. AND YOU CAN JOIN NOW AND AFTER A TERM AS A DUES PAYING MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE A $ 100 REBATE after a full term. Come and join the movement.


Readers will recall Governor Scott's initiative to tax public employees 3 % of their salary in order to ... well, the rationale was that this was for the Florida Retirement System, but it was really to help balance Scott's budget. The Florida Education Association's lawsuit to overturn the law will be heard tomorrow, Friday, at 9 am, on The Florida Channel. Union dues are paying for the FEA's lawyers: contractual rights aren't free.


Half a century ago, the Florida legislature's Johns Committee investigated communism, civil rights activism, and homosexuality in Florida, including a foray into USF Tampa. Independent scholar and USF alumnus Stacey Braukman recently published a book on Communists and Perverts under the Palms: The Johns Committee in Florida, 1956-1965. She was interviewed by Inside Higher Ed and invited by the USF Humanities Institute to speak here at Tampa. The United Faculty of Florida is happy to co-sponsor her presentation, September 20 at 7 pm in CWY 206, followed by a reception. See the announcement in the events calendar and page 3 of the Institute newsletter. The presentation is free and open to the public: come and bring a friend!


On July 26, employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit voted to approve a contractual amendment giving most former USF Poly faculty on tenure-track the option of some extra time on their tenure clocks. The USF Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the item (FL 104) today (Thursday); the Board's Ace Workgroup has recommended that the Board vote to ratify the amendment.



College costs, student debt, and access to higher education have become major issues in the upcoming election. Recent studies suggest that the problem is the resources that our politicians are willing to allocate.

  • The National Issue. College costs are rising faster than inflation at a time when higher education is under increasing attack. More below.
  • The Situation in Florida. A recent report by Demos reveals a state unwilling to put its money where its mouth is. More below.
  • Thank you for voting in the August 14 election! And mark your calendars for voting on Nov. 6. For more, see below.
  • A Labor Day column in the St. Petersburg Times. Robert Trigaux on the state of job market students face. For more, see below.



"College costs ... are on an unsustainable trajectory, rising year by year far ahead of overall inflation. Nationwide, student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt, roughly $23,300 for each of the 35,000,000 debtors, taking years to pay off," according to the 2012 Republican Platform. Notice the word "costs": it's not just tuition that is going up.

The increasing cost affects access for the growing population that intends or hopes to go to college. In its report on The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the Future Middle Class, Demos argues that state support for higher education has declined just as college-age kids became more numerous, more diverse, and more inclined to try for college. The result has been an explosion in college costs: Demos reports that in the last two decades, costs at four-year colleges has increased by 116 % while costs at two-year institutions has increased 71 %, after adjusting for inflation.

While there has been a lot of talk about cutting costs and unleashing for-profit enterprises, the bottom line is that state (and federal!) support of higher education has declined in the last two decades. According to Demos, per student state spending steadily rose from $7,580 in 1992-93 to $ 9,092 in 2000-01, when it began banging downwards, reaching $6,360 in 2008-09. And, observed in the 9 February 2012 Biweekly, different states did it differently.


The Demos report had a great deal to say about Florida, as one can tell from the Fact Sheet. Total average costs increased fairly steadily from $ 8,294 to $ 11,850 per student from 1990 to 2010; meanwhile, state support mimicked the national pattern, increasing steadily during the 1990s (under the administration of Lawton Chiles) and then down and up under Jeb Bush, up and down under Crist, and as we all know, down under Scott, for a net decline from just under $ 10,000 per student in 1998-99 to just over $ 6,000 in 2009-2010 -- and that was before Scott was elected.

The economic problem for Florida is that while students are preparing for the 21st century economy Florida's business community says it wants, the state government is not providing the resources for the higher educational system such an economy needs. While the rise in 4-year tuition in Florida has been lower than the increase nation-wide, it still reached 26 % of median family income in 2009-2010. For a more detailed analysis, co-author Bruce Nissen was interviewed on WMNF: Professor Nissen's interview starts at 5:30.

As the National Science Board observed last spring, Florida is a relatively low-income state. There is only so much money to be raised from tuition and fees from Florida students. If the universities are to become the research & development powerhouses that the Florida business community says they want, the universities will have to get more support.

And this is the message that UFF will continue to make.


The franchise is one of the most critical parts of democracy, but it is useless if we don't use it, so we thank all those who voted in the August 14 election and ask everyone to circle November 6, and plan to vote then (or in advance, in early voting or by absentee ballot). And remember: the deadline for registering to vote (and for making sure that one's registration is in order) is October 9. Contact your local election supervisor: links to Tampa Bay area election supervisors are posted at the UFF USF politics page.

You may recall that the West Central Florida Federation of Labor made recommendations for some of the August 14 races, and for those of you who would like to know how they turned out, here are the results of the legislative races.
  • Mark Danish won the Democratic primary for House District 63 and is running as the Democratic candidate this fall. He will be visiting the chapter meeting tomorrow, and everyone is invited to come and meet him.
  • Jim Frishe lost the Republican primary for Senate District 22.
  • Ed Hooper won the Republican primary for House District 67 and is running as the Republican candidate this fall.
  • Randy Johnson lost the Republican primary for the House District 55 seat by 34 votes - after a recount.
  • Jack Latvala won the Republican primary for Senate District 20.
  • Jack Myers lost the Republican primary for House District 15.
There will be many more candidates - and issues - on the November 6 ballot.


Tampa Bay Times columnist Robert Trigaux's Labor Day column presents a bleak picture of the job market students are graduating into.

As noted in the February 9 Biweekly, Florida has many low-skill low-paying jobs.

  • Citing the Research Institute on Social & Economic Policy's report on the State of Working Florida 2011, Trigaux said that Florida has recovered only 13.5 % of the jobs lost in the recession, while the US as a whole has regained 34.6 % of the jobs lost.
  • Citing the National Employment Law Project's report on The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality, Trigaux said that nationwide, jobs paying $7.69 up to $13.83 an hour had been 21 % of the recession losses but 58 % of the recovery growth, jobs paying $13.84 up to $21.13 an hour had been 60 % of the recession losses but 22 % of the recovery growth, and jobs paying $21.14 up to $54.55 an hour were 19 % of recession losses and 20 % of recovery growth. So nationwide, higher-paying jobs are being replaced by lower-paying jobs.


Next Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, September 7, at 12 noon, at EDU 214 in USF Tampa.

Sandwiches, chips, and soda will be provided by the Chapter, and 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.

If you do not want to receive the UFF Biweekly, you can unsubscribe below. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, e-mail a message to mccolm@usf.edu.