Courage in the academy

The Gators will very likely beat the Gamecocks when they meet on the football field later this fall.

But make no mistake. If there were a face-off over courageous leadership the University of South Carolina would trounce the University of Florida hands down.

I’ve already written about UF President Kent Fuchs’ spineless acquiescence to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ insane anti-public health dictates. While Team Fuchs spouts meaningless Great Expectations about masking and vaccinations, USC President President Harris Pastides has taken direct action to protect South Carolina’s faculty, students and staff.

In the face of legislative language seemingly prohibiting mask mandates Pastides went to court. And now the state’s Supreme Court has unanimously upheld USC’s right to require masking.

“Today’s South Carolina Supreme Court ruling clears the way for the university to require face coverings on our campus,” Pastides said following the court decision. “On July 23, we were the first institution in the state to mandate face coverings. I will require the use of face coverings in our buildings, effective immediately, as an effective strategy in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

To be fair to President Fuchs, he does “expect” students to mask. So there’s that.

Of course, everybody knows that South Carolina is a much more liberal state than Florida (tongue planted firmly in cheek here). So naturally university presidents in that ‘northern’ school are going to buck political authority….as though academic freedom were really a thing.

I’m not suggesting of course that Fuchs exhibit the same courage his USC counterpart. I just wish he had half the grit of the Alachua County School Board.

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