This statement was approved by the UFF-UCF Council on September 20, 2021.
UFF-UCF supports UCF’s stated mission of:
meeting [our region’s] economic, cultural, intellectual, environmental, and societal needs by providing high-quality, broad based education and experienced-based learning; pioneering scholarship and impactful research; enriched student development and leadership growth; and highly relevant continuing education and public service initiatives that address pressing local, state, national, and international issues in support of the global community.
Fulfilling this mission requires hiring and retaining faculty with expertise in a wide variety of subjects, supporting faculty efforts to contribute to the development of knowledge, fostering collaboration and co-operation among UCF faculty, between faculty and students, and between faculty and other staff. It also requires facilitating research and creative collaborations among faculty from different parts of the region, state, nation, and globe and trusting faculty in their role as publicly engaged intellectuals who speak to the pressing issues of the day both inside and outside of the classroom.
Regrettably, Florida legislation affecting universities, such as House Bill 233 (mandating the assessment of “viewpoint diversity”) and HB 7017 (restricting foreign travel to, and research collaboration with or hiring of persons from “countries of concern”), together with Executive Orders prohibiting vaccine or masking requirements on campuses undermine UCF’s mission. Such acts pose challenges to our safety, question our professionalism, impede our ability to generate and disseminate knowledge, and disregard our expertise on a range of pressing issues from systemic racism to public health. State university policies that suggest all opinions are equally credible, that disincentivize international collaboration, and that fail to value the health and safety of faculty, staff and students are detrimental to UCF’s ability to recruit and retain faculty. If we do not have the intellectual and ethical courage to push back against such political overreach, we can expect UCF’s reputation to decline as coordinated attacks on higher education continue. To suggest that “our hands are tied” in the face of such attacks on higher education is strategically short-sighted, epistemically irresponsible, and ethically questionable.
The United Faculty of Florida, including your UCF chapter, is working tirelessly to protect the well-being of faculty as we attempt to carry out the teaching, research, and public service missions of higher education. (For further information, see resources below.) But a union is only as strong as its membership. We thus ask each of you to help uphold the integrity of higher education by doing one or more of the following:
- Write President Cartwright and Interim Provost Johnson about your concerns regarding HB 233, HB 7017, Covid protocols and policies, or other matters affecting higher
- Write Board of Trustee members explaining how State legislation and edicts may be impeding your unit’s–and thus UCF’s–potential for
- Talk to your non-academic friends and family in Florida. Help them to understand the importance of academic freedom, expertise, and collaboration to our regional, national and global well-being.
- Share a story of how your work has been negatively impacted by intrusive State policies with your UFF-UCF chapter at email@example.com.
- If you are not yet a member of UFF-UCF, please join. Encourage colleagues to
- If you are a member of UFF-UCF, consider joining our Government Relations Committee or participating in lobbying
- Attend collective bargaining
- Stay abreast of UFF news and keep your chapter leadership informed of how State laws and policies affect you and your unit by joining UFF-UCF on Facebook and on Twitter.
Additional Articles and Resources
- Florida Universities Shy from Stronger Covid They Won’t Say Why. (09/05/21)
- I’m a College Professor, Not a Covid Guinea Pig (09/03/21)
- Florida University Leaders Say Their ‘hands are tied’ and They Cannot Mandate Masks (8/31/21)
- Florida Defies Judge and Punishes 2 School Districts Over Masks (08/30/21)
- UCF Faculty Union Concerned About COVID-19 Pandemic Safety Measures (08/27/21)
- Faculty Member Who Quit: State Policy ‘Literally Becomes Teachers Die Trying’ (08/27/21)
- We’re Begging Students to Save Our Lives (08/27/21)
- Judge Rules on Florida School Mask Policy (08/27/21)
- Seeing Themselves Out: More Professors Quit Over Face-to-Face Teaching Mandates (08/24/21)
- Statewide Faculty Union Urging Masks, Vaccines, Online Classes on Florida Campuses (08/11/21)
- United Faculty of Florida (UFF) Joins Suit Against State to Defend Freedoms of Students and Faculty (8/4/21)
- UFF @ UCF podcast episode Teaching CRT or Governor Desantis Have You No Sense of Decency? provides guidance on how we can continue to approach Critical Race Theory in our classroom (08/01/21)
- The Orlando Sentinel editorial by UFF-UCF’s Yovanna Pineda, Law to Protect Free Speech Actually Endangers It (07/23/21)
- UFF-UCF President’s Response to HB233: The Indoctrination Canard (07/14/21)
- Academic Freedom and Job Security at Florida’s Colleges and Universities are Under Attack (07/12/21)
- HB233 Preliminary Guidance for UFF Members (07/01/21)
- Florida’s DeSantis signs COVID-19 lawsuit protection bill (03/29/21)
- Floridians Need Help and Genuine Leadership, not a Culture War (03/01/21)
- UFF’s Right to Refuse Unsafe Working Conditions (10/07/20)