American Federation of Teachers Support Relief in Puerto Rico

I just returned from several days in Puerto Rico, where I saw firsthand the devastation and the tremendous need there. On most of the island, it looks like the storm happened just days ago. 

When I met with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and asked what we could do, she requested help getting safe water to more people.

So, today, we launch Operation Agua, a new initiative of the AFT and our partners—including our local affiliate, the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico; Operation Blessing; the Hispanic Federation; and AFSCME—to bring water filters and purification systems to Puerto Rican families, classrooms and communities who need help.

When you contribute just $30, you give an in-home filter that purifies 10 gallons of water per day to a family in need. These units require no electricity, and a single filter can clean 5,000 liters of water.

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Protect the University of Wisconsin

From the American Association of University Professors

A series of recent actions taken by Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin state legislature, and the University of Wisconsin system board of regents represents a concerted attack on the university as a public good and on the university’s role in fostering democratic participation. The stewards of the university system appear determined to destroy it.

We the undersigned call on the Wisconsin system board of regents to cease its attacks on the institutions it stewards; to recognize tenure, faculty governance, due process, and academic freedom as foundational to higher education; to support and encourage free speech for faculty and students; and to govern the system’s institutions for the common good of the people of Wisconsin.

Click link to sign:

(To read a statement by the AAUP and the Wisconsin AFT, click here.)

Professors Are the New Therapists

From Slate, October 5, 2017

By Lindsay Bernhagen

Jason was an untenured professor at a large public university when two students who had been dating each other began fighting regularly in his class. When he sought advice from university administrators about what to do, they merely passed him around the bureaucracy until, one day, he found himself assisting police, phoning one of the students and pleading with him to come to campus to surrender himself to the authorities after a violent fight with his girlfriend. Jason, who, like most untenured faculty today, prefers not to use his last name when critiquing university administrators, recalled the emotional toll the incident took on him: “I was upset for days. I had no idea what to do.”

Approximately 3 out of 4 workers who teach college students are contingent, also known as adjunct professors, meaning that they do not get the same benefits or protections as their tenure-track colleagues. Contingent instructors teach more courses with higher enrollments than those on the tenure track, and many make ends meet by teaching at multiple institutions, turning them into what one adjunct acquaintance called “self-contained mobile teaching units” who grade papers in their cars or meet with students wherever they can find open space on campus. Increasingly, these same overworked faculty are being asked to comfort and support students in ways that go far beyond the classroom.

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Statement from UFF-UF Chapter President, Steve Kim

Dear colleagues,

Please join me in thanking President Fuchs for deciding today to deny Richard Spencer’s request to speak on campus.  Spencer is a white supremacist who was involved in the violent demonstrations last weekend in Charlottesville, VA. I know that many of you contacted us, and the president, to express your concerns about the potential for such an event to lead to violence in Gainesville.  UFF-UF and the UF Chapter of Graduate Assistants United strongly urged the president to cancel the event.  The text of our letter to President Fuchs can be found here.

We recognize that the president was forced to weigh important considerations of free speech with concerns for the safety of the university community.  UFF is committed to protecting both. Our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) contains very strong language protecting academic freedom. It also enjoins the university to protect faculty against discrimination and to ensure at all times a safe working environment.  We commend the president for upholding our CBA and protecting our campus from this incitement to violence.

Steve Kirn, Chapter President

Statement of AFT Higher Education Leaders on White Supremacist Actions in Charlottesville

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT higher education leaders (full list below) on the white supremacist actions in Charlottesville, Va.:

“We are angered and heartbroken by the largest open mobilization of white supremacists in the United States in decades. We grieve the murder of Heather Heyer and the injury of other peaceful protestors against racism and anti-Semitism who, numbering in the thousands, courageously exercised their First Amendment rights in Charlottesville this weekend.

“At the same time, we are sick with the knowledge that the racist uprising they protested is of a piece with a long history of racist ideology and terrorism that has afflicted every region of our beloved country.

“There are no shortcuts to reconciling that past; the realities of it are present at every turn. Charlottesville’s statue of Robert E. Lee is a memorial to one part of that history; the Confederate flags carried by racist demonstrators this weekend are another.

Though conscious of this history, we know that peaceful protestors against racist hatred—including our colleagues among the faculty, staff and students at the University of Virginia—are another part of that story. This weekend, those protestors did the work of bending the arc of history toward justice. We send them our solidarity and our support, our admiration for their bravery, and our commitment that we will be with them throughout whatever is to come.

“We remind President Trump that, as president, he automatically has a role in the long national dispute over race and racism, and whether and how the federal government will use its power in response. When he fails to repudiate immediately the support of David Duke, when he rails against immigrants, when he fails to properly name and condemn racist violence, when he says there is fault on “many sides”— Trump takes the wrong side in this history.

“We enjoin President Trump and his administration to take this opportunity to correct their course. They must reflect on their role in normalizing racism through statement and policy, and on their responsibility in creating the sense of moral license that enabled racist terrorism to manifest itself in the streets of Charlottesville and on the grounds of the University of Virginia. They must denounce white supremacy and white supremacist terrorism in the strongest terms.

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Reddit Satire Mocks Georgia Campus Carry

[Preface: Bills to allow guns on campus will be coming to the Florida Legislature again this year, this time with even more likelihood of becoming law.  UFF is the only voice from Florida universities and colleges actively opposing this and other bad legislation, and speaking for the faculty.  Join UFF!]

from Inside Higher Ed

Nick Roll, July 31, 2017

Following the May passage of a campus carry bill in Georgia, firearms are allowed to be carried at public colleges and universities. While there are several exceptions for where the law doesn’t apply — including athletic venues, student housing, fraternity and sorority housing, and child-care facilities — science labs apparently aren’t one of them.

Mocking the law, a poster was allegedly hung outside a lab at the University of Georgia regarding how to navigate the space safely. Guns are allowed, the poster points out, but “in the interest of personal safety,” shorts and open-toed shoes are pictured as banned items.


The poster was uploaded to the social-media site Reddit, where it gained traction over the following week. While the poster is satirical — saying sandals are more dangerous than guns — some users were quick to point out that open-toed shoes and shorts are rightfully banned from labs.

“Long pants and closed-toed shoes are a safety concern when doing lab work. Your gun won’t protect you if you drop hydrofluoric acid on your tootsies,” the most popular comment reads. “I mean, pants and shoes won’t help much, either, but at least it’s something.”

Officials from the university could not be reached to confirm the authenticity of the poster.

Adam Putnam joins campus carry fight: Republican candidate for governor sees “pathway to open carry”

Tallahassee Democrat

By James Call, July 18, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Tuesday students should be able to carry guns on campus.

Speaking at a National Guard Armory to mark his office’s expedited processing of 82,000 concealed weapons permit applications for guardsmen and reservists, Putnam said gun free zones are places where victims have no opportunity to defend themselves.

Proposals to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms on college and university campuses have failed to gain traction in the Florida Legislature in the past two years.

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FAU’s proposed budget includes record athletics total


“Salaries are the largest increase among expenditures, increasing $1.34 million to $8.95 million. In December, FAU agreed to make Kiffin the highest paid coach in Conference USA at $950,000 per year and gave him a $1.7 million pool to fill out his staff.”

By Matthew DeFranks

From Sun Sentinel

June 9, 2017

Florida Atlantic’s athletic department will be budgeted more money during the 2017-18 academic year than ever before, according to the school’s proposed operating budget. FAU budgeted $29.33 million for its athletic department, up $2.23 million from last year’s proposed budget.

The proposed $2.23 million increase is the biggest one-year jump for the athletic department since the 2013-14 budget rose $2.69 million from 2012-13. The 2017-18 fiscal year begins in July and will include Lane Kiffin’s first season as the school’s football coach.

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