This cannot stand

When does a great university begin to auction off its reputation and integrity? What does it profit a public university to achieve Top Five status only to surrender its institutional soul?

Not since J. Wayne Reitz sold his soul to the Johns Committee, more than half a century ago, has a president of the University of Florida so willingly sacrificed his institution’s reputation on the alter of political expediency.

Universities are supposed to encourage faculty members to share their expertise, not suppress them.

Imagine both the New York Times and The Washington Post reporting that the University of Florida is muzzling its faculty in order to shield Gov. Ron DeSantis from critical scrutiny. Is that “manufactured news,” Gov. DeSantis?

Imagine a “Top Five” institution of higher learning allowing politicians and developers to decide who should be awarded a coveted tenure-track faculty position.

Imagine the University of Florida becoming a national laughing stock for hiring a political showboater who spouts patent nonsense while passing himself off as a respected member of the UF Academy.

Is this what the University of Florida has come to? How far is President Kent Fuchs willing to go in order to remain a loyal member of Team DeSantis?

More importantly, will The Academy – the world class faculty, scientists and researchers who form the heart and soul of this university – stand by silently while Fuchs allows their beloved institution to become a handmaiden to one man’s political ambitions?

It is time for The Academy to stand up in defense of their University of Florida. This ongoing politicalization of a great university – Florida’s Flagship University – cannot be allowed to stand.

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