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United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
28 February 2012
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ANNOUNCEMENTS

MARCH 1 RALLIES TO PROTEST HIGHER ED CUTS

On March 1, there will be student rallies at USF Tampa and USF St. Petersburg to protest legislative proposals to cut higher education. The Students for a Democratic Society are organizing a National Day of Action for Education Rights at universities across the USA, including a rally at USF Tampa, which will start at about noon in front of Cooper Hall. And Awake the State is organizing a rally at USF St. Petersburg, starting around 11:30 am on Harbor Side Walk by the fountain.

JOIN UFF TODAY!

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OPPOSE SEVERE CUTS FOR STATE UNIVERSITIES

A Letter to Faculty and Professionals from (statewide) UFF President Tom Auxter

UFF President Tom Auxter has sent the following letter to all faculty and professionals in the Florida State University System asking us to call our senators and our representatives (events are moving too fast for email or snailmail to be effective) from our personal phones and urge them to:

  • Please support adoption of the House budget for higher education, which does not include severe cuts for universities, and
  • Please oppose the creation of a 12th university in this session and follow the Board of Governors plan.
Professor Auxter's letter is below.

We are down to the last week to leave messages for legislators. This is our last chance to stop severe budget cuts. There is reason to think we could reduce the damage if we stay with the task. The Senate passed a budget of nearly $400 million in cuts for the universities on February 23rd. I was there during the intense debate before the vote and noticed that members of the leadership (other than Budget Chair J.D. Alexander) were clearly defensive and felt uncomfortable with these cuts.

The friends of higher education spoke out about the issues we have been raising in our conversations with them:

  • Why is it necessary to take 20% of the budget shortfall out of the budgets of the universities?
  • Why are we destroying in the budget process what most senators now see as the engine of economic growth for the state?
  • Why is the leadership claiming there are excess funds in the reserve accounts of universities (to cover the budget shortfall) when figures have not been updated since December 31 and do not reflect information we have on committed funds not available for legislators to take?
  • How can legislators again take away PECO funds, which save universities from deterioration, and also take away reserve funds, which could be used to help with this crisis in maintenance and safety?
  • Why are we creating a 12th university when we cannot even find enough money to pay for the 11 we have now?
  • How can we justify constantly raising costs for students when we give them less and less in programs and courses available each year?
  • How can we defend taking away more money from universities when our student/ faculty ratio gets worse every year and jeopardizes our national rankings?
In the answers the leadership gave to intense questioning about the need to do these things, leaders kept promising that if the Senate would vote for the bill as proposed, the leadership would find a way in conference committee deliberations to reduce the damage in the last days of the session.

Now is the time for faculty to make a difference by supporting the senators who support us in the debate. We know there is only one thing that works when we have short timelines: phone the offices of legislators and leave a polite, one sentence message. Senators need to hear from constituents to stay on track when they support higher education.

When you call your senator, state your name and say that you live in the senatorís district. Click on this link and enter your zip code to find your senator's phone number:

Phone your Senator with these messages:

  • Please support adoption of the House budget for higher education, which does not include severe cuts for universities.
  • Please oppose the creation of a 12th university in this session and follow the Board of Governors plan.

Here are some talking points for legislators to ask them to Invest in Higher Education.

Reminder: Use a personal phone to make calls to senators and a personal computer to forward this message to colleagues.

Tom Auxter
President, United Faculty of Florida

There are four committees we are concerned about; the chairs and co-chairs are in boldface and local legislators are italicized.

  • Please contact members of the Senate Budget Conference Committee:
    Last NameFirst NameDistrict PhoneCapital Phone
    Alexander JD (863) 679-4847 (850) 487-5044
    BennettMichael S. ''Mike'' (941) 727-6349 (850) 487-5078
    Gaetz (D) Don (850) 897-5747 (850) 487-5009
    GardinerAndy (407) 428-5800 (850) 487-5047
    Joyner Arthenia (813) 233-4277 (850) 487-5059
    NegronJoe (772) 219-1665 (850) 487-5088
    Rich Nan (954) 747-7933 (850) 487-5103
    ThrasherJohn (904) 727-3600 (850) 487-5030
  • Especially members of the Senate Budget Conference Committee on Higher Education:
    Last NameFirst NameDistrict PhoneCapital Phone
    Altman Thad (321) 752-3138 (850) 487-5053
    LynnEvelyn J. (386) 238-3180 (850) 487-5033
    SachsMaria (561) 279-1427 (850) 487-5091
    SiplinGary (407) 297-2071 (850) 487-5190
  • The House Conference Managers At-Large:
    NameDistrict PhoneCapital Phone
    Gary Aubuchon (239) 344-4900 (850) 488-7433
    Charles Chestnut (352) 955-3083 (850) 488-5794
    Chris Dorworth (407) 333-1815 (850) 488-5843
    James Frishe (727) 518-3902 (850) 488-9960
    Denise Grimsley (863) 385-5251 (850) 488-3457
    Doug Holder (941) 918-4028 (850) 488-1171
    Dorothy Hukill (386) 322-5111 (850) 488-6653
    Mia Jones (904) 924-1615 (850) 488-6893
    John Legg (727) 869-8600 (850) 488-5522
    Carlos Lopez-Cantera (305) 442-6877 (850) 488-4202
    Seth McKeel (863) 647-4896 (850) 488-9890
    Franklin Sands (954) 424-6800 (850) 488-0590
    Ron Saunders (305) 853-1947 (850) 488-9965
    Robert Schenck (352) 688-5005 (850) 488-6641
    William Snyder (772) 221-4904 (850) 488-8832
    Will Weatherford (813) 558-5115 (850) 488-5744
  • House Higher Education:
    NameDistrict PhoneCapital Phone
    Larry Ahern (727) 545-6421 (850) 488-6197
    Dwight Bullard (305) 234-2208 (850) 488-5430
    Eduardo Gonzalez (305) 364-3066 (850) 488-1683
    Shawn Harrison (813) 983-3300 (850) 488-3087
    Jeanette Nunez (305) 227-7630 (850) 488-7897
    Jose Oliva (305) 364-3114 (850) 487-2197
    Marlene O'Toole (352) 315-4445 (850) 488-5991
    Kathleen Passidomo (239) 417-6200 (850) 488-4487
    Bill Proctor (904) 823-2550 (850) 488-2977
    Betty Reed (813) 241-8024 (850) 488-5432
    Kelli Stargel (863) 614-9156 (850) 488-2270
    Dwayne Taylor (386) 239-6202 (850) 488-0580
    Carlos Trujillo (305) 596-3030 (850) 488-5047
    Alan Williams - (850) 488-1798

To communicate with the House leadership:
Position
Last NameFirst NameCapital Phone
Speaker of the House
Cannon Dean 850-488-2742
Speaker-Designate of the House
Weatherford Will W. 850-488-5744
Chair, Appropriations
Grimsley Denise 850-488-3457

LOGISTICS

Next Chapter Meeting Friday, March 9, at 12 noon, in EDU 150, on USF Tampa. Click here for the standing agenda Click here for the minutes of the previous meeting. Sandwiches & sodas are provided by the union, and all UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.

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