February 2017 UFF Senate Meeting

By Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President

Each spring, the many chapters of the UFF elect members to serve as senators. Every February and September, these leaders attend a statewide UFF meeting to determine the direction of our union and its finances as well as meet together in bargaining councils—university, college, graduate assistants and independent colleges—to discuss bargaining and other issues our constituencies face.

This year, we had three very special guest speakers in February—State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, FEA Vice President Fedrick Ingram and Dr. Ibram Kendi, UFF-UF member and winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction for his book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

Other actions of the Senate include:

  • A resolution opposing guns on campus.
  • A resolution opposing the restructuring of the Florida College System and performance funding metrics (as proposed in Senate Bills 002 & 374).
  • A statement in support of immigration and diversity in light of the recent executive order on immigration and travel restrictions.
  • A report from the Adjunct Task Force that included a resolution supporting SEIU’s efforts to organize adjuncts.
  • A report from the ad-hoc Incarceration Task Force that included a resolution that encourages UFF members to raise public awareness about the damaging effects of the prison industrial complex and encourages members to take action.

I would like to thank all of the members of the standing committees (Membership, Contract and Enforcement, Government Relations, and Diversity and Leadership) and the Adjunct Task Force, the Incarceration Task Force, and the subcommittee that is reviewing the UFF constitution and bylaws for their hard work and dedication to our union and the issues that affect all of us. I would also like to thank all of the senators who attended the meeting and took their role as representatives of their chapters very seriously by carefully considering the issues before them.

Union Family Bowling Event

Union Family Bowling Event

April 22 @ 12:30 pm3:30 pm

bowling

Did you miss out on the inaugural UFF-FAU bowling event last Fall?

UFF-FAU rolls again at Strikes of Boca (http://strikesbocaraton.com/) on Saturday April 22 from 12:30pm to 3:30pm. Members are encouraged to bring their families and especially non-members who are eligible for union membership. Bowling, shoes, beer, pizza, and other snacks will be provided for all.

https://goo.gl/forms/Hjd902zthYZb9Wav1

If you have any questions – please feel free to contact Ethan Fenichel at ethanfenichel@gmail.com

WHERE: Strikes at Boca (21046 Commercial Trail Boca Raton, FL, 33486)
WHEN: Saturday, April 22, 12:30 – 3:30 PM
WHO: You AND your family
WHY: To meet union members, have fun, and to bowl a strike
RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/Hjd902zthYZb9Wav1

If you have any questions, please contact event organizer, Ethan Fenichel at ethanfenichel@gmail.com or as always, Bob Zoeller, UFF-FAU President at president@uff-fau.org.

2016-17 AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey

The annual AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey is the largest independent source of data on full-time faculty salary and benefits at two- and four-year colleges and universities in the United States. The 2017 iteration of the survey includes information on salary and benefits for more than 380,000 faculty members from 1,022 institutions in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The survey, along with the accompanying “Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession,” is published each year in the March–April issue of Academe, the AAUP’s magazine. Inside Higher Ed below presents these data in an easily searchable database.

Click here for the chart: https://www.insidehighered.com/aaup-compensation-survey/category/doctoral-1455/state/florida-1469?institution-name=&professor-category=1596

College is not a corporation: the union pushes back on corporatization on campus

from AFT Voices on Campus

By Jennifer Proffitt

The Academy has a long, cherished tradition of challenging dominant thought and the powers behind it, finding new ways of approaching old problems and exploring fresh solutions. That curiosity and willingness to question, that impulse to help students find ways to make the world a better place — that is what drew me to academia, and it’s what I’ve dedicated my life to.

But what happens if the worldview of one powerful institution begins to dominate higher education — especially if that worldview is narrowly constructed to place just one aspect of the human experience above others? That is what is happening today. The institution is the multi-national, neo-liberal corporate complex, and the narrow worldview is profit.

Changes being made to higher education in Florida offer a glaring example of how corporate power is restructuring our cherished institutions to meet its worldview. Corporate culture wants to absorb our universities, our faculty, and our students into its complex and change the world to reflect its profit-driven agenda. Its efforts highlight how critical unions are for preserving higher education’s real role in society.

Corporate culture wants to absorb our universities, our faculty, and our students into its complex and change the world to reflect its profit-driven agenda.

The corporatization of higher education is a nationwide trend, but it’s affected Florida in particular, and in numerous detrimental ways. From the privatization of faculty research to university boards filled with business people and politicians rather than higher education professionals to a governor who treats every institution like a profit-driven business that should only be pumping out widgets, the corporatization of higher education is affecting all aspects of teaching, research and learning. The following account of what happened at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) is just one example.

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Florida Legislative Session Update (Metrics Made Worse and Attacking Health Care)

Higher Education was at center stage this week in Senate interim committee meetings. The Legislature officially convenes the 2017 Legislative Session on Tuesday, March 7th.

On Monday, February 6, the Senate Education Committee passed SB 374 which has been dubbed the “College Competitiveness Act” by Senate leaders. According to Senate President Joe Negron’s press release, “Senate Bill 374 reinstates a statewide coordinating board for the Florida Community College System, tightens the community college bachelor degree approval process, expands 2+2 college-to-university partnerships, and clarifies responsibilities within Florida’s taxpayer-funded K-20 education system to avoid wasteful duplication of programs offered by state universities, community colleges, and technical centers.”

Clearly, SB 374, deemphasizes four-year programs at current state colleges. The bill would remove state colleges from the oversight of the State Board of Education and put them under a new State Board of Community Colleges. The bill will make 4-year baccalaureate degree programs a “secondary” mission of the colleges. The 254-page bill does not yet have a House companion bill.

Then on Wednesday, February 8, the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted 5-1 to support CS/SB 2 which has been titled the “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2017.” UFF has serious concerns as did several senators about possible unintended consequences of this legislation. They are as follows:

Metrics dealing with graduation rates will reduce access and not provide the support needed for eventual success.

In 2013, SB 1720 made remediation courses optional at the college level. However, “traditional students who decided not to take developmental or remedial courses, after being advised to do so, were more likely to fail college-level or gateway courses.” Further, “students who start credit-bearing courses without adequate preparation face long odds of graduating” (Inside Higher Ed, 2015). Therefore, the addition of metrics that deal with graduation rates may hinder student access to higher education if colleges have to push through students to meet those metrics.

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American Universities Must Take a Stand

From The New York Times

February 8,, 2017

Leo Botstein

Not since the era of witch hunts and “red baiting” has the American university faced so great a threat from government. How is the university to function when a president’s administration blurs the distinction between fact and fiction by asserting the existence of “alternative facts”? How can the university turn a blind eye to what every historian knows to be a key instrument of modern authoritarian regimes: the capacity to dress falsehood up as truth and reject the fruits of reasoned argument, evidence and rigorous verification?

The atmosphere of suspicion and insecurity created by the undermining of truth provides the perfect environment for President Trump’s recent actions on immigration. The American university’s future, indeed its most fundamental reason for being, is imperiled by a government that constructs walls on the Mexican border, restricts Muslim immigrants and denigrates the idea of America as a destination for refugees.

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Killing Tenure

from Inside Higher Ed

By Colleen Flaherty

Jan. 13, 2017

Lawmakers in two states this week introduced legislation that would eliminate tenure for public college and university professors. A bill in Missouri would end tenure for all new faculty hires starting in 2018 and require more student access to information about the job market for majors. Legislation in Iowa would end tenure even for those who already have it.

The bills, along with the recent gutting of tenure in Wisconsin and other events, have some worrying about a trend.

“These are serious attempts to undermine universities and the role of universities in society,” said Hans-Joerg Tiede, senior program officer for academic freedom, tenure and shared governance at the American Association of University Professors. “If they’re not directly coordinated, there’s a strong current going through all of them.”

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Universities, colleges paint depressing picture of dealing with 10 percent cuts

[Preface: The War on Higher Education ignites the New Year: budget cuts announced in Florida along with pending anti-tenure legislation in the states of Missouri and Iowa. Legislators manufacture crises in higher education that further disenfranchise working-class students of color. Only through your faculty union can your collective voice be effectively asserted at the local, state, and federal levels to defend the right of an affordable and quality higher education for all.]

From Florida Politics

By Scott Powers, 1/26/2017

Asked to prepare for 10 percent budget cuts, Florida’s state university and college leaders pledged to try to avoid affecting students but told the House Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations Friday the impacts would still be profound.

“The target reductions are set at 10 percent for each entity,” Subcommittee Chairman Larry Ahern said after spelling out the challenges faced by the larger House Appropriations Committee of possible 10 percent budget cuts this year to deal with a $1.7 billion shortfall.

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