On Wednesday, March 29, the Florida Board of Governors intends to pass Regulation 10.003 – Post-Tenure Faculty Review, against the wishes of the entire higher education community across Florida and the country.
Since the proposed policy’s initial appearance in November 2022, higher education faculty, students and community supporters submitted more than 1,700 public comments against this regulation. In addition, more than 4,000 people signed UFF’s petition to protect university tenure from partisan interference, and faculty leaders from around the state spoke to the board during their February conference call meeting, where further amendments were considered. This outpouring of public outcry, specifically from the higher education experts who understand how tenure is integral to Florida’s higher education system, shows that Regulation 10.003 will directly harm Florida’s universities, with no benefit in the short or long term for students, programs or institutions that serve the public good.
Protections for tenure are directly connected to protections for academic freedom, which ensure that faculty and students of all political persuasions are free to teach, learn, research and speak without fear of how those activities will impact the partisan interests of politicians, donors and others who would limit knowledge for personal gain. This relationship was a key feature of the UFF-FEA joint press conference on March 7, which featured state and national labor and political leaders speaking to the importance of honesty in education.
The following organizations (tracked here) from around the country and across the globe have submitted statements in support of these foundational principles of college and university culture, with more coming in every day:
- American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
- African American Policy Forum (AAPF)
- American Anthropological Association (AAA)
- American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
- American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
- American Historical Association (AHA)
- American Philosophical Association (APA)
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- American Sociological Association (ASA)
- American Studies Association (ASA)
- Florida Philosophical Association (FPA)
- The Labor Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA)
- Modern Language Association (MLA)
- The Philosophy of Education Society (PES)
- Professional Staff Congress (PSC) / City University of New York (CUNY)
- The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)
- The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)
- University of Rhode Island Faculty Senate
A harm to tenure is a harm to all; UFF implores the public to contact the Board of Governors and tell them not to pass Regulation 10.003. The consequences to Florida’s future are clear, and it is time we all demand more of our elected and appointed leaders, now and into the future.
Statements from UFF Leaders:
“Tenure and academic freedom are vital to a thriving university system, one where the public good and the advancement of human knowledge are prioritized over political convenience. As currently written, Regulation 10.003 will harm Florida’s world-class university system by making us less competitive with other states where tenure still protects faculty and students from undue political influence. I urge the board to find ways to work more collaboratively with faculty to produce a fairer and more equitable post-tenure review process that will build a stronger university system for decades to come.”
— Andrew Gothard, UFF President
“Tenure and security of employment in higher education are proven methods of facilitating new discoveries in sciences, technology and an understanding of the human condition. When instructors and researchers are insecure in their employment, they are less able to be innovative and to take the kinds of risks needed to advance knowledge. Academic freedom is a fundamental element of democracy in the 21st century.”
— Paul Ortiz, President, UFF-UF
“Tenure is the cornerstone of academic institutions around the world. Tenure provides faculty with the long-term commitment and support needed to turn their attention fully to long-term research and instructional methods. Without tenure, Florida will not only struggle to recruit new faculty, but it risks losing many of our leading faculty to other institutions and the prospect of following Wisconsin in spending tens of millions of dollars to retain faculty we already have. Floridians can’t afford wasting more of their money on another political stunt for Ron DeSantis’ presidential run.”
— Eric Scarffe, President, UFF-FIU