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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
20 October 2022
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Nineteen Days Left

The United Faculty of Florida is a "local" of a larger union, the Florida Education Association (FEA), which represents K-20 teachers and staff across Florida, and has over 150,000 members. The primary policy-making body of the FEA is the Delegate Assembly, which meets annually in October to hear reports, set policy, and listen to visiting speakers. A lot of legislation affecting education was passed recently, and more may be on the way, so speakers encouraged attendees to encourage everyone to vote because there is a lot at stake. And there are only nineteen days until the election.

  • A Lot of Business. A lot is going on, from legislation to hurricanes, and an apparently unprecedented amount of business reached the floor. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, we have already seen the effects of one particularly ill-advised bit of legislation.
  • Behind Closed Doors. The Legislature recently exempted university presidential searches from Florida's sunshine, and we are now seeing a different kind of university president. For more, see below or click here.
According to a recent AP-NORC poll, 71% of the American public think that the future of America is at stake in the next election; hopefully this will translate into 71% turnout. The deadline to request a mail ballot in the general election is October 29. However, as mail ballots are already being sent out, we recommend that anyone planning on voting by mail send in their request for a mail ballot now. All counties will have early voting during October 29 - November 5; however, some counties may have additional days. And November 8 is election day.

For more information for voters, see the For Voters page in the website for the Florida Division of Elections. And you can look up your county supervisor of elections here. Remember: we get the government we elect, so the burden is on us.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow at 12 Noon on USF Sarasota / Manatee - and on Zoom

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF Sarasota / Manatee in room B336; it will also be hybrid on Zoom. There will be sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and sweets starting at 11:30. On the agenda: Sarasota / Manatee issues, post tenure review, the provost search, getting out the vote, and more. And here are the minutes for the previous meeting.

Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but to Zoom in you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one.

Meetings and events are posted on the Events Calendar of the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.


We are always pleased to recognize the accomplishments of UFF members, so we are happy to see an op-ed column in the Orlando Sentinel by Brook Sadler of the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies claiming that Post-tenure review would gut Florida's universities [USF login required]. Noting that the proposed regulation on Post-Tenure Review "places the ultimate power and sole discretion to fire tenured faculty in the hands of one person," even though "the whole point of tenure is to guard against such unchecked power," she warned that if this regulation is implemented, "Florida institutions will slide down the ratings" as "excellent new faculty will not take jobs in Florida." We hope that the Board takes note.


If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the recent Memorandum of Understanding, 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 Grievances Page.

USF United Support Fund for Food Pantries

Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

  • We have a Facebook group: see United Faculty of Florida at USF. 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, and the moderator will invite every UFF member that asks to join. Non-members are welcome to look (but you need a Facebook account to do that). So check us out.
  • We have a blog: see The USF Faculty Blog. This has news items as they come up.
  • We are twitter-pated: follow us on Twitter via @UffUsf.
  • We even have a You-Tube channel: check out our videos
If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.

A Lot of Business

Florida is next to last in education funding, Florida's education legislation is not only nationally but internationally notorious, Florida's educators are being maligned by Floridian politicians, and unsurprisingly Florida is facing critical shortages in teaching and support staff. All this lent an air of urgency to this year's Delegate Assembly.

The Florida Education Association is the joint state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, and leaders from both national unions spoke at the Assembly. NEA Vice President Princess Moss said that we should look for long-term solutions and that, "You are the last one standing between public education and those who would destroy it."

The Polish and Ukrainian teachers' unions had asked AFT President Randi Weingarten to come, and she arrived at the Assembly just after her visit; she told us that it was hard to talk about what she had seen without crying. She would soon be going to Southern Florida in three days. "Whether you're an educator in L'viv or Lee County, there is an innate understanding of the importance of our work."
"We are in the business of making people's lives better," said Weingarten. "We do it by bargaining and problem-solving."

On a similar note, Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO (of which the AFT itself is an affiliate) visited, and spoke of union relief efforts in southern Florida. "It is the labor movement that is there every single time."

She also appealed to delegates to vote and to encourage union members to vote. "When we vote, we win." Indeed, there was a lot about the importance of the November 8 election, and we were visited by several political candidates: for more about them, see our Facebook page.

The official business of the Delegate Assembly is to pass a budget and consider policy proposals from the Executive Cabinet and the membership. The United Faculty of Florida presented two of the 28 policy proposals presented to the Assembly.

  • Protecting the Academic Integrity of Florida's Higher Education System directed the FEA to assist in opposing the erosion of tenure (including the Board of Governors' trial balloon for post-tenure review), defending teachers who are disciplined or targeted for teaching forbidden topics, assist the UFF in changing the noxious legislation, and - ahem - fixing the Board of Governor system, which has become rather politicized.
  • Returning College and Presidential Searches to the Sunshine addresses recent legislation that exempted college and university presidential searches from Florida Sunshine (see the story below on Behind Closed Doors) and directs the FEA to conduct a campaign to change the Legislature's mind.
Both proposals were passed unanimously. We were happy to enjoy such strong support from our K-12 and staff colleagues.

Other proposals passed included two on excessive testing, one advocating student safety and inclusion, one to protect K-12 teachers who take on student interns from unreasonable evaluations, one to petition the Florida Department of Education to waive its requirement that schools that shut down during Hurricane Ian make up lost days by remaining open during some of winter and summer break, one to promote access to mental health care (a recent Rand study, Teacher and Principal Stress Running at Twice the Rate of General Working Public, Hindering Pandemic Recovery, and a previous study, Job-Related Stress Threatens the Teacher Supply, indicate a mental health crisis among educators) (similar problems have surfaced in higher education), and encouraging charter school teachers to form unions (a recent study suggests that students at schools whose teachers formed or joined a union did a bit better).

Behind Closed Doors

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska probably is best known as a longstanding critic of former President Trump who was ultimately censured by his state party for his comments regarding the president's second impeachment trial. But before entering the Senate, he was president of Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University). Midland was in serious trouble [USF login required] when he became president, and he is widely credited with turning it around with a mix of marketing (he made it into a university and adding sports), resulting in increased enrollment and donations - but graduation rates did not improve.

He also abolished tenure there.

He has a reputation as an education reformer, but it is easier to see what he is against than what he is for, other than marketing.

He is now the sole finalist in Gainesville's presidential search, Politico reports that the fix was in for hiring him, and certainly the new law exempting university presidential searches from Florida Sunshine facilitated making him the sole finalist.

There is a lot of unhappiness over him being the sole finalist. UF students were outraged [USF login required], in part because of Sasse's positions on gay marriage and his actions on tenure at Midland. One of the sponsors of new law exempting presidential searches from the Sunshine said that this is not what the Legislature intended [USF login required]. And former President Trump said that UF would regret hiring Sasse [USF login required]. The ball is now in the Board's court.


The next chapter meeting will be tomorrow Friday, October 21, at 12 noon, on USF Sarasota / Manatee in B336. At 11:30, there will be sandwiches, fruit, drinks and sweets. It will be hybrid on Zoom, and for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary. All UFF USF employees are welcome.

All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. To get the link to Zoom, contact the Chapter Secretary. 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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