Higher Education

Fund our Future: As with Florida’s K-12 public schools, adequate funding is the most pressing issue facing our public colleges and universities. To maintain the quality and reputation of our system, we must invest in our institutions.

Funding for Florida’s public higher education institutions has lost more to inflation since 2008 than all other states except Texas, according to a recent report from the American Federation of Teachers. The report shows Florida lost almost $1.1 billion, when accounting for inflation, from 2008 to 2017.

According to Dave Denslow, retired University of Florida economics professor, Florida is No. 1 in one economic metric: It spends half the national average on funding per full-time university student.

Increasing our state’s commitment to higher education funding is essential for maintaining the quality of our colleges and universities.

The United Faculty of Florida (UFF), FEA’s higher education affiliate, is meeting these challenges head on through member organizing and collective bargaining. UFF has won six union elections since 2016.

In addition to seeking increased investment in our institutions UFF continues to advocate on behalf of its members on a full slate of issues:

  • Guns on campus: UFF opposes legislation to allow carrying of concealed weapons on college and university campuses. UFF concurs with the clear majority of faculty, students and law enforcement that prohibiting firearms on college and university campuses, except when those firearms are in the hands of trained law enforcement or security personnel, is crucial to an overall campus safety plan.
  • Performance funding: UFF supports an authentic recognition of quality at our institutions. Performance funds should be available on an equitable basis to all colleges and universities, the funding should not be considered non-recurring, and institutions should have some flexibility in using the funds.
  • Accessibility of higher education: Higher education must be more affordable for our students, who too often end up saddled with crushing debt. Increasing the number of need-based scholarships is an essential first step in confronting the issue.
  • Fee waivers for graduate assistants: Graduate assistants perform meaningful teaching and research functions at most of our state universities. UFF supports legislation that provides graduate assistants with fee waivers or exemptions from financial aid fees, technology fees and other fees tantamount to fees for the right of employment.
  • Access to public records: UFF opposes legislation that would provide exemptions to Florida’s Sunshine Law as it pertains to president, provost and/or dean searches. We support full access to public records and full compliance with the Sunshine Law in any situation in which a private donor to a college or university insists upon setting preconditions related to faculty appointments or curriculum.
  • Academic Freedom and Respect: UFF supports the American tradition of academic freedom — one of the fundamental tenets of American higher education — and the responsibilities that go along with that freedom. We support promotion and tenure procedures as outlined in our collective bargaining agreements. We oppose any discriminatory actions based on race, gender identity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or marital status.

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