May 25, 2006

Banning travel to Cuba

Inside Higher Ed has finally reported on the Florida bill that would ban travel to countries labeled as supporting terrorism using funds that go through public colleges or universities. I've heard conflicting responses from fellow faculty around the state—not about the wisdom of the policy, which most would recognize is an infringement on several areas of research, but about whether the university faculty's collective bargaining agreements would protect such activities. Obviously, from the article, the sponsor in the Florida House does not particularly care to hear from academics. I suspect that if it were insurance companies or utilities, he'd be far more respectful.

I had been wondering whether such rules would also prohibit bringing one's university laptop or equipment to Cuba to conduct research, even if the purchase was not primarily for research in Cuba, and then I realized that laptops might fall into technology export restrictions (a long explanation from University of Chicago's research office regarding export restrictions that apply to research conducted in Iran, Cuba, etc.). Then that raises another question: if a faculty member goes through the official, rather severe federal filters for bringing a laptop to Cuba or Iran, why would the state not be willing to let the university handle the money? I guess Rep. Rivera just doesn't trust the federal government.

Listen to this article
Posted in Academic freedom on May 25, 2006 6:35 AM |