April 20, 2005

HB837/SB2126 update (Florida legislature)

While the Baxley/Horowitz bill is effectively dead in the state legislature (though the House may pass it in a symbolic move late in the session), Baxley will try the Colorado gambit: asking university presidents to recreate the bill's provisions in administrative form. I am less convinced of any immediate threat, since the university-system faculty have union contracts that protect academic freedom, than of the possibility that this is a first act in a long-term strategy. Since this maneuver is similar to Colorado's resolution of the Horowitz bill last year in that state, I'm wondering if there's further coordination. There need not be, since it's fairly common for administrators to lobby legislators and make various promises about behavior and priorities in return for appropriations. But there's also been some quick work in the United Faculty of Florida to ask for e-mails before tomorrow's meeting between bill sponsor Rep. Dennis Baxley and the state university presidents. Personally, I suspect university presidents already are expert at demurring, but reinforcing the clear faculty opposition to anything like Baxley/Horowitz can't hurt.

Sources: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat, the student-run Florida Alligator, Orlando Sentinel, Gainesville Sun, and the Ocala Star-Banner. (Thanks go to United Faculty of Florida staff for collecting these clippings and distributing them to elected union officers.)

In the next few days, I'll try to carve out time for a few notes about Cary Nelson and Stephen Watt's Office Hours: Activism and Change in the Academy (Routledge, 2004)

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Posted in Academic freedom on April 20, 2005 8:18 PM |