Call it what it is. A full blown University of Florida scandal.
And it’s unraveling with breathtaking speed.
Last week we learned that three UF political science professors were prohibited from offering paid testimony in litigation challenging one of Gov, Ron DeSantis’ signature policy “victories,” an assault on voting rights.
Then we learned that a UF Health pediatrician was likewise prevented from testifying in litigation challenging DeSantis’ heavy-handed attempts to stop school boards from mandating masks.
Now, we find that four UF law professors also ran afoul of UF’s “conflict of interest” (said conflict being any faculty action or expression that might make DeSantis look bad) policies.
Who else is being suppressed? We’ll just have to await tomorrow’s headlines to find out.
How do we know it’s a scandal?
The university’s accrediting agency is investigating. The Florida Senate is investigating. The American Association of University Professors is aghast. And the Chronicle of Higher Education practically has to put out a special edition to keep track of all the latest developments.
But mostly we know it’s a scandal because UF President Kent Fuchs has had to take time from his busy let’s-keep-the-gov-happy schedule to reaffirm his commitment to academic freedom and free speech.
“We are immediately appointing a task force to review the university’s conflict of interest policy and examine it for consistency and fidelity,” he announced, to the thunderous sound of one-hand clapping.
UF is upside down on this one and Fuchs knows it.
University “conflict of interest” policy at this point appears to be fairly straightforward: Do and say nothing that might upset the Governor.
It is difficult to see how a task force is going to find either “consistency or fidelity” in Tigert Hall’s paying lip service to academic freedom while going to great lengths of suppress faculty exercise of same.
And that, Gator Nation, is a scandal that threatens to peel the ivy off UF’s hallowed halls.