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Ratifying a Memorandum of Understanding


The UFF (representing faculty in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit) and the USF Administration (representing the USF Board of Trustees) have bargained a

Memorandum of Understanding addressing several issues about teaching last spring and teaching this coming fall. These concerns include how to handle student evaluations from last spring, and how at risk teachers can teach in fall. For details, see the 20 May 2020 Extra.

This Memorandum comes into force once ratified by the faculty and by the Board of Trustees. And first, faculty vote on whether to ratify it.

A ballot packet has been sent to all employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit. When you receive the packet, it will include instructions (on white paper), a ballot (on blue paper), a regular-sized envelope (addressed and stamped), a smaller envelope, a copy of the Memorandum, and a flyer. Please review the Memorandum, and then vote on the ballot. Please put the ballot in the smaller envelope, seal the smaller envelope, put the smaller envelope in the regular sized envelope, print your name and sign on the regular sized envelope at the upper left hand corner, and mail it.

Warning: the ballot says to put the smaller envelope in “the ballot box”. That is legacy language: please put the smaller envelope in the regular sized envelope.

We encourage all faculty to vote. In addition, we believe that this Memorandum is in the interest of faculty and the university, and we encourage all faculty to vote in favor of ratification.

UFF STATEMENT ON GEORGE FLOYD

George Floyd. Ahmaud Aubery. Breonna Taylor. One more family devastated. One more child without a parent. The list goes on and on, with incidents almost too frequent to be reported. Their crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time… and to be Black. The United Faculty of Florida strongly condemns not only the brutal murder of George Floyd, but the systemic racism that tries to excuse this and countless other acts of violence by law enforcement against Black Americans.

In a nation that boasts of guaranteeing its citizens life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Black Americans are too often denied basic human rights that many of us take for granted. They can’t jog without worrying about being shot. They can’t sleep without worrying about being killed. They can’t even go bird watching in a public park without being threatened.

No one should be afraid to live their lives as they choose or to seek help from police because of their skin color. A mother shouldn’t be worried about her teenager because he wants to spend time in public with his friends. Fathers should not have to see murders on live TV, and project that nightmare onto their own children. Families should not have to bury their loved ones before they have graduated from high school or known the joy of holding a grandchild.

At UFF, we are committed to representing a diverse membership. We cherish that diversity. We only hope that we can understand the pain, anger and the outrage that these continued atrocities have produced. We stand with the thousands who have vocally and peacefully taken to the streets of our country. We stand with those who are the victims of this violence. We stand with those who are no longer requesting, but demanding, meaningful change.

The rage coursing through the streets of Minneapolis and other cities is born from hundreds of years of prejudice played out as personal discrimination or legal bias. We oppose any form of violence but cannot delude ourselves into believing that the responsibility lies only with others. It also lies within ourselves. Not one of us should feel that we are untouched by the effects of the pernicious disease of racism. Recent events only underscore this fact. The disproportionate mortality rate of the COVID virus on communities of color is only one more indication of its tragic and enduring legacy. We call upon our members, families, colleges, and communities to stand with us against racism in all its forms.

We also call upon Law Enforcement, and, particularly, our union sisters and brothers in Law Enforcement, to examine their contracts and policies to ensure that they are written in ways that hold those charged with keeping the peace accountable for their actions. We cannot claim to be a state which prizes equality so long as we have a criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.

Those endangered by racism are our members and colleagues, families and friends, students and former students. It is critical at this time that we not only speak out but live out the values that we claim to cherish. Demands for respect, civility, diversity, equality, and inclusion cannot just be empty words shouted in the heat of the moment. We must speak up and speak out whenever we witness hatred, racism or injustice, however small or subtle it might be. This must be a part of what we do every minute of the day in both our personal and professional lives.

In our role as educators, researchers, and mentors, we must prepare those we teach to commit to vigorous and wholehearted participation in our democracy. An honest civic discourse cannot and may not obscure the truth. This cannot be “normal”. The killings must stop. The system must change. We all must work together to build a just society, where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are guaranteed for each and every one of us,wherever we were born, whomever we love, and whatever the color of our skin.

Pandemic News

USF went online in mid-March, and anticipates being online through Summer. As of mid-April, the USF Administration anticipated reopening classrooms in fall – with adjustments to permit physical distancing – but no decision on that is anticipated before May or June. We will try to keep people up to date as much as possible.

Here are some useful links:

And here are news articles we ran on the pandemic (and the pandemic at USF):

  • The 21 May 2020 article on the MOU signed May 15 to be ratified by the Bargaining Unit and the Board.
  • The 7 May 2020 article on Teaching in Fall described the context for initiating impact bargaining.
  • The 23 April 2020 article on The Web of Scholars concerned what we want the world to look like after the pandemic – and about working to get there.
  • The 9 April 2020 article on Wilding Online, which was about how non-students were invading online classes.
  • The 26 March 2020 article on A Fox and a Hedgehog Teach Online… concerns the ways a teacher can select an online strategy that fits her or his own approach to a prolonged crisis. This included some advice to and from Sir Winston Churchill on doing something new.
  • The 12 March 2020 article with A Few Resources had links to some of the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed articles that came out as the pandemic arrived.
  • The 12 March 2020 article on Of Germs and People on fake news.

Our affiliates are also maintaining pages on dealing with the pandemic:


Here are some other pertinent news sources:

  • Science is the AAAS’s flagship journal, and they have a page of links to Coronavirus stories.
  • The Atlantic launched a COVID Tracking Project which has been used by The Atlantic, CNN, The New York Times, Pro Publica, Vox, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the White House.
  • BBC is probably the world’s preeminent news source, and they are maintaining a page on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
  • The Conversation is a platform providing articles and op-eds by academics for news media. It was created by a consortium of colleges and universities, including USF. They have a page of links to Articles on Coronavirus, and another page of links to Articles on Fake news.
  • Politifact is maintaining a page on Coronavirus.
  • Avi Schiffmann’s ncov2019 site.
  • Snopes is maintaining a Coronavirus Collection of Memes and Misinformation in blocks of twelve articles per page: as of May 3, there were pages I and II, and there almost surely soon will be more.
  • The Tampa Bay Times is the only surviving major metropolitan daily in the Tampa Bay area, and they are maintaining a page with links to their stories on Coronavirus in Florida.

Consolidation

We are watching the USF consolidation process closely. Here are links to UFF USF Biweekly articles on the process:

In addition, here is the USF page on the Consolidation Task Force.

Organizing

We are planning for a recruitment campaign.  We need volunteers!  We need to get UFF members more active in the union.  If you are interested, contact the Membership Chair, Debbie Sinclair.

Tenure and Promotion

Newsletter Series on Performance, Evaluations, and the Reward Structure: Raises, Renewals, Tenure and Promotion

The newsletter is running a series of article on job performance, how it is evaluated, and how evaluations are translated into raises, renewals, tenure and promotion decisions.  This series was inspired by recent changes in the tenure and promotion guidelines at USF.  Articles thus far: