TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Under new post-tenure review rules proposed by the Board of Governors, university faculty members run the risk of termination if they fail to comply with Florida law.
The new regulations are based on provisions in Senate Bill 7044, which empowers the Board of Governors to adopt rules that “address accomplishments and productivity; assigned duties in research, teaching, and service; performance metrics, evaluations, and ratings; and recognition and compensation considerations, including improvement plans and consequences for underperformance.”
Dr. Christy England, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs in the Florida State University System, is listed as the initiator of the proposed rule, which states that “Each tenured faculty member shall have a comprehensive post-tenure review of five years of performance in the fifth year following the last promotion or the last comprehensive review, whichever is later.”
RADICALS FEAR PURGE
Faculty members will be evaluated on different criteria, including “non-compliance with state law” and “substantial student complaints.” A rating as “unsatisfactory” will lead to immediate termination.
Although the text includes a provision stating that “The review shall not consider or otherwise discriminate based on the faculty members’ political or ideological viewpoints,” critics have voiced concerns over a potential purge of Marxist and radical Leftist academics teaching race-based theories identified in Florida’s Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, also known as the “Stop WOKE” Act. The application of this law in college and university settings has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.
“We are fighting so that Ron DeSantis’ authoritarianism, his disdain for the protections of the Constitution and his flippant way of stepping on the citizens he is supposed to be representing doesn’t move to a national scale. … We have to keep fighting. We can’t give up,” Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida, a union organization for academics, said.
United Faculty of Florida’s parent organization is the radical Leftist American Federation of Teachers, led by Randi Weingarten. On the topic of the proposed tenure review rules, UFF states: “Public education is a public good that must not be subjected to political influence, no matter who is in power. Tenure and academic freedom protect all academic pursuits equally, regardless of perceived political persuasion.”
“HIGHER EDUCATION RESCUE OPERATION”
Stanley K. Ridgley, Clinical Professor of Management at Drexel University, has written extensively on the politicization of academia. He vehemently disagrees with UFF’s description that all academic pursuits are protected equally, or that Governor DeSantis is engaged in any form of authoritarianism.
“Florida’s actions are a refreshing tonic to the lockstep politicization of the college campuses by a radical Leftist fringe. Florida is engaged in a higher education rescue operation, and this is a major and much-needed first step,” Ridgley says of the proposed regulations.
“The degradation of higher education has been ongoing for some time, as campuses fall into the hands of ideological zealots, both in the faculty and in the bureaucracy. Make no mistake – these are authoritarian personalities driven by a clear ideology that is antithetical to American values,” Ridgley explains to The Florida Standard.
He’s hopeful that Florida will lead the way and bring back “sanity and sunshine” to academia, which he considers captured by Leftist ideologues teaching a mashup of pseudoscience, paranoia, and conspiracy theory.
“It’s all in their journal articles and in their conference speeches. They don’t want it challenged or even made available to a larger public. They don’t want freedom to teach their enthusiasms; they want freedom to suppress others,” Professor Ridgley concludes.