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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
13 July 2017
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in Tampa

The Chapter will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon in Perkins Restaurant in Tampa, on 5002 E. Fowler Ave. (at the intersection of E. Fowler Ave. and N. 50th Street, on the southeastern corner of USF Tampa). Lunch is on us, and all USF employees are invited, especially UFF members and employees thinking of becoming UFF members.

Chapter Meeting in St. Petersburg on Friday, July 28, at 12 noon. We will meet at Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill at 1320 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, and lunch will be on us: come and check us out.

The last chapter meeting of the summer will be on Friday, August 11, at 12 noon, at Perkins Restaurant in Tampa, 5002 E. Fowler Ave.

$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award six $ 500 Travel Scholarships for fall and spring. This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by August 9, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 cycles of travel grants, and no member of the UFF USF Executive Committee, is eligible to apply. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the August 11 chapter meeting. For more information, see the Travel Scholarship Flyer. There are two new conditions:

  • When presented or published, any research or presentation facilitated by this grant must acknowledge that the work was partially supported by the United Faculty of Florida.
  • After the work is presented or published, the recipient will compose a short (200 words or so) description of the research, scholarship, or creative work, for publication in the Biweekly.
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, Adrienne Berarducci (click here).

Join UFF Today!

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; see also the main article (left).

Visit Us on Facebook

Visit the United Faculty of Florida at USF Facebook page. 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, or contact the Communications Committee. The Committee will invite every UFF member that asks to join. So check us out. UFF members are welcome to join, and non-members are welcome to look.



It is a principle of Roman Law that silence betokens consent: when you are silent, then you consent to whatever is being proposed (or not proposed). It follows that if you do not consent, you should not be silent. But that brings up an awkward question: when you speak up, is it just for the record, or do you actually want to change things? It seems that changing things requires a lot of work...

  • Activism. One way to get things done is to participate in a group that shares your concerns and goals. For more, see below or click here.
Changing the subject, UFF will award six travel scholarships to UFF members willing to describe their adventures. (See the announcement at left for details.)
  • A Travel Tale. One of our recent recipients wrote a brief description of the work the scholarship facilitated: see below or click here.
The travel scholarship program is one of several efforts UFF has launched to get people more active. If you would like to get more active, come to the UFF USF Chapter Meeting tomorrow, Friday, at noon, at Perkins Restaurant, 5002 E. Fowler Ave., in Tampa.


Part of the folk wisdom of democracy is that as politicians need to win elections in order to keep their jobs, the way for ordinary people to influence policy is to write to politicians, write letters to the editor, and perhaps attend occasional events - as individuals. So it was a bit disconcerting for Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels to write a book, Democracy for Realists, proposing that voters do not make their choices because of the effect of past policy over time, and outside of the consequences of the elections themselves, government policy does not much respond to elections anyway.

So how can ordinary people influence the politicians that they elect?

During the less transparent 1980s, BBC ran a comedy Yes, Prime Minister, presenting a not-entirely-non-partisan parody of how 10 Downing Street actually worked. In the Power to the People (see 10:40 - 14:00) episode, the prime minister's political advisor explains that if ordinary people want to get something, they form a group that goes out and talks to people and drums up support. (The episode then veered off into how a government might formalize this approach.) This may give us an answer to Achen and Bartels' puzzle: ordinary people might influence a democratic government (and/or the nation it governs) by organizing.

In his Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky described his experience building organizations that arose organically from the communities that they represented and served, and how these organizations effected changes. This took advantage of the often overlooked tail end of the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. This entails organizing for secular purposes.

We can see this in recent events.

One movement that took this approach was the Tea Party. Many things came together, from Ron Paul's unsuccessful 2008 campaign for the presidency to efforts by President Bush and later President Obama to bail out the banks after the 2008 meltdown. In early 2009, ordinary citizens like Keli Carender and Rick Santelli started organizing groups that didn't merge so much as generate a Tea Party Patriots organization. Big donors are as attracted to band wagons as anyone else, and Americans for Prosperity poured money into the movement - leading to the accusation that the Tea Party was as much AstroTurf as grass roots. Well, certainly the money helped, but much of this activism was populist and much of the movement's strength arises from a broad base of organized activists who write letters to news sites and politicians, organize and participate in events, and participate in primary campaigns. One activist even wrote his own rules for tea partiers, and no doubt there are other manuals out there.

To every action, claimed Sir Isaac Newton, there is an equal and opposite reaction. After the election of Donald Trump, a group of Washington insiders composed an Indivisible Guide that offers "... a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents." Like the Tea Party, this Indivisible movement is based on building many local groups that - as an old environmentalist phrase goes - think globally but act locally. These groups run campaigns, which involves talking to citizens and politicians as part of organized activities, staged events, and they hope that through a long, slow process, they will gain a lot of influence.

So in answer to Achen and Bartels, the Tea Party does consist of ordinary citizens acting deliberately and successfully to influence policy, and the Indivisible movement hopes to do as well. This suggests that our democracy works not as three hundred million atomized individuals guiding the state, but as many groups, based on engaged individuals, guiding the state. And not just the state.

Other activists offer similar advice. Eric Liu of the University of Washington began his recent book on civic power by outlining how Florida tomato pickers - migrant workers with little English and resources - formed a Coalition for Immokalee Workers that extricated workers from forced labor, improved working conditions, and went on to win raises from Taco Bell, Burger King and MacDonald's (they are now working on Wendy's).

Notice that this takes time, patience, and sustained effort and attention. "All the performances of human art," wrote Samuel Johnson, "... are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals." This goes for politics as well.

If tomato pickers can do it, so can we. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that "... as tensions between administrators, faculty, and students have increased over the past few years — particularly over issues like free speech — more professors say they are seeing the consequences of weak faculty governance." That means the system from departmental committees up through the faculty senate. But "Leadership veterans describe something of a vicious cycle: If faculty members are not engaged in the senate and voicing their concerns, the senate itself is limited in what it can accomplish": faculty don't want to spend time on a weak organization, so it remains weak, and the administration doesn't want to waste time on it, either. Such problems have led some faculty for form other groups, like faculty unions or chapters of the AAUP. But the reality is that the way to get a powerful organization is to build one, not wait for one.

So come and get involved. At USF, in your senate or the United Faculty of Florida. Or in the professional organization in your field. If you are interested in politics and would like to help UFF educate politicians, contact the Chapter Secretary about joining the political committee. To paraphrase Woody Allen, 80 % of politics is showing up.

A Travel Tale

Lisa Starks is a professor of English and chair of the Verbal and Visual Arts Department at USF St. Petersburg. The USF Chapter of UFF was pleased to award her a scholarship for travel to a conference, and here is her account.

I’ve just recently returned from a truly wonderful experience presenting at the Shakespearean Theatre Conference in Stratford, Ontario. The conference’'s theme "What's Next?" was developed in various ways through sessions on new trends in Shakespearean studies, with an emphasis on performance and adaptations in various media. My panel, "Mediated Shakespeare," dealt with screen, television, and social media; my paper focused on gender and sexuality in biopics of both Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Plenary speakers included Peter Holland, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Sarah Beckwith, and Martha Henry. In addition to attending these sessions, speakers had the opportunity to attend the extraordinary stage productions at Stratford Festival at night and engage with directors and actors during roundtable sessions during the day. I crammed in as many plays as I could, including Richard Sheridan's School for Scandal, Euripides' Bakkhai, Middleton & Rowley's The Changeling, Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It was a glorious time, one which will greatly enhance my scholarship and teaching. I'm grateful to UFF for awarding me the travel scholarship to attend it.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, July 14, at Perkins Restaurant, on 5002 E. Fowler Ave., in Tampa.

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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