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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
27 February 2020
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Consolidation Updates

Consolidating USF is proving such a success that the Legislature is considering folding Florida Polytechnic University into the University of Florida and folding New College into Florida State University (although Governor De Santis seems to think that it would be more logical to fold New College into USF - and the latest news flash is that the Legislature might go along). This has inspired the USF St. Petersburg student paper to offer some advice to the targeted institutions. Meanwhile, the USF community is wrestling with what the Legislature has already wrought - and perhaps hoping that the Legislature won't dump any more reorganization schemes into our lap.

  • The Best Laid Schemes. With 126 days to go until Consolidation, proposed organizational charts are out. For details, see below or click here.
The UFF USF Biweekly continues to run short accounts by recipients of the travel scholarships.
  • Exploitation and Resistance. Peter Funke of the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies visited Hebrew University. For more, see below or click here.
Last Call for Nominations in the spring election: All Nomination Materials are Due TOMORROW AT MIDNIGHT. This spring, we will be electing officers and representatives of the UFF USF Chapter. All union members - and only union members - may participate by running for office or representative seats, and by voting. (BUT YOU CAN JOIN TODAY AND PARTICIPATE: click here for the membership form.) The elective positions are:
  • The officers, i.e. the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
  • The representatives, i.e., the senators (who represent USF at the biannual meetings of the UFF statewide Senate) and the delegates (who represent UFF at the annual meetings of the Florida Education Association).
We have issued a Call for nominations and posted a nomination form. All nominations must be made in writing and all nomination materials are due TOMORROW, and only those who are members by February 28 may participate in this election We urge everyone to get involved.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa at noon in SOC128

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa in SOC128. Lunch is on us. On the agenda: the recruitment campaign, election mechanics, meetings on the St. Petersburg and Sarasota / Manatee campuses, and the spring election.

This semester we will be meeting at noon on alternate Fridays, on February 28, March 13 & 27, and April 10 & 24. One meeting will be on USF St. Petersburg and one will be on USF Sarasota / Manatee, and the rest will be on USF Tampa in SOC128. Meetings and events are posted on the Events Calendar of the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.

$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award six $ 500 Travel Scholarships for next spring and summer. This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by December 4, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall or Spring cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the December 6 chapter meeting. 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, Debra Sinclair (click here).

Bargaining Survey

Bargaining will be in earnest, and the UFF USF Bargaining Committee would like to know what's important to you. As UFF represents all UFF USF employees, we would like everyone, members and non-members alike, to fill out the survey. Here is the link to the survey form.

Join UFF Today!

In order to be a member of UFF, one has to join. To join, 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.


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.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.

The Best Laid Schemes

At the beginning of this month, Academic Affairs sent out a link to a 279-page USF Consolidation : Academic and Student Success Implementation Handbook outlining the current view of the senior administration; barring meteors or legislative action, this is probably close to how the (upper levels of the administration of the) consolidated university will look.

Some highlights...

The mission statement on page 3 focusses on research and teaching, and the five goals concern teaching, research, economic impact, safety, and management. From there, the handbook leaps into numerical comparisons with aspirational peers scattered about the nation as if all these institutions were all flavors of vanilla. The discussion mentions that numbers will depend on whether a university has a medical school (which results in megabucks), but does not mention that numbers will also depend on whether a university has a law school (which results in political clout). USF does not have a law school, but some of the aspirational peers do, so the comparison may be unrealistic.

USF will be "one university geographically distributed," and the Handbook goes into the identities of the St. Petersburg and Sarasota / Manatee campuses (but not Tampa, which is apparently vanilla). The Handbook then addresses the issue that the local media has largely ignored: our accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges / Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has certain ... conditions ... that must be satisfied if USF is to continue to get federal money. As noted in a previous issue, the result is a compromise.

The proposed organizational charts on pages 11 and 12 has the non-medical deans reporting to the provost, who reports to the president, while the medical deans report to the Vice President of USF Health, who also reports to the president. Meanwhile, the two regional chancellors report to the president and also report to the provost (sort of: the line of authority is dotted); there is no regional chancellor at Tampa, which suggests that that's another job for the provost.

Two of the major issues are: resources and personnel at the two "regional" campuses.

A major issue is how individual departments will handle all this. This issue is addressed in dribbles here and there (e.g., on page 16, we are told that, "Department Chairs may delegate ... responsibilities to campus chairs," and then that, "Annual assignment and performance assessment of academic/student success staff personnel will be conducted in compliance with USF policies and procedures, and consistent with a common set of department/school, college, unit assignment and appraisal guidelines"). Departments are now being asked to revisit their guidelines and thus revisit the status and standing of their faculty. Indeed, who are the "faculty" of the department? There are numerous extant definitions, representing different philosophical points of view. Here are three: Each department should be clear about how they view the employees in their department. More to the point, since much of discussion concerns which employees will be involved in what decision-making processes, we should remind everyone of Article 5, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement: "Academic Freedom is the freedom of an employee to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, to speak freely on all matters of university governance, and to speak, write, or act as an individual, all without institutional discipline or restraint." Notice that this (legally enforceable language) applies to each "employee" and therefore covers all employees in the bargaining unit.

Meanwhile, the USF Student Government has provided us with a reality check. The constitution for the new consolidated student government provides for a governor for each campus. The USF Oracle reported that at a debate between candidates for the USF Tampa governorship, the big issue was whether candidates would represent their Tampa constituents or represent the entire student body. Outside of the implication that politics is apparently still local in student government, this shows that many members of the three subcommunities still regard each other with suspicion.

Exploitation and Resistance

Peter Funke is an associate professor at the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies. He received a $ 500 travel scholarship to visit Hebrew University last year in Jerusalem, where, among other things, he made a presentation on social movement politics since the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. This is his account.

I was one of the lucky ones that was drawn to receive a UFF travel scholarship. I used the fund to contribute to my return travel costs from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem where I also gave a talk on my ongoing research. The presentation The Logic of Social Movement Politics: Mapping and Theorizing Social Movement Politics since the Battle of Seattle examined how the economic restructurings and ever-increasing exploitation dynamics of the last forty years have impacted the Logic of Social Movement-based Resistance. I argued in this talk that we have entered a new phase that is deeply imprinted by neoliberal capitalism, new media and communication technologies, and the changing role of the nation-state. This new phase, I hypothesize, is characterized by a movement meta-logic that has taken the shape of a globalized, digitized, radically democratic, network formation. The talk was well attended and very interesting discussions followed my presentation.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, February 28, at noon, on USF Tampa, in SOC128.

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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