These are perilous times for a university community like ours. And perilous times demand attitude, and plenty of it.
We have a governor and legislature intent on remaking universities and colleges in their own, illiberal, image. The rank odor of state-mandated censorship is in the air. Politicians want to whitewash any hint that racism might be baked into the American way of life. There is a war on gay and trans Floridians.
Do we knuckle under and quietly go about our lives? No we do not. Standing up for what’s right is So GNV.
We did not sit quietly in the ‘60s, when Stephen C. O’Connell cleared his office of Black students who were looking for an opportunity to redress their grievances.
We did not sit quietly when local restaurants refused to serve Blacks.
(Incidentally, if you care to revisit the events leading up to Black Thursday at UF, catch the terrific exhibit, “We’re Tired Of Asking” at the Matheson Museum.)
When our governor was threatening to treat BLM protestors like terrorists, we took to the streets because Black Lives Matter.
That monument to the First Amendment that sits in front of our Courthouse is not just an ornament. We take our obligation to exercise our rights seriously.
We knew we were in trouble when Tigert Hall decided to turn UF’s Top 5 designation into a Team DeSantis end run.
And so, when Tigert Hall decided to squelch academic freedom so as not to offend Team Captain Ron DeSantis, it did not go unnoticed or unchallenged.
When DeSantis and the Legislature presumed to sanitize public education, Gainesville was ready to say “Gay!”
Because refusing to back down is in our culture. It’s got a beat we can both dance to and march on.
Because we’ve got attitude here in our little corner of the Florida swamp. And we don’t believe that letting the big gator growl must be reserved strictly for football games.
We understand the value of critical thinking.
Which is why we are not fooled when our university caves in to conservative fantasies and betrays its very intellectual reason for being.
Attitude is Soooo GNV.