February 6, 2023
Florida university ‘intellectual freedom' law under fire in court

Florida Trend Education

Florida university ‘intellectual freedom' law under fire in court

| 1/12/2023

Florida university ‘intellectual freedom’ law under fire in court

A federal judge on Monday began hearing testimony in a trial over the constitutionality of a 2021 state law requiring colleges and universities to survey students and staff members about “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” on campus. The plaintiffs, including the United Faculty of Florida union and individual teachers and students, are challenging three parts of the law (HB 233). The first day of the trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker focused heavily on a requirement that colleges and universities conduct the surveys. More from the  News Service of Florida, the Tampa Bay Times and Flagler Live.

See also:
» Florida accused of violating judge’s order putting ‘Stop WOKE’ law on hold

UF adds a $300,000 pool to its president’s mansion as Ben Sasse starts work

The University of Florida is making sure its newly hired president, former Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, can dive into the job: It is spending $300,000 to build a new swimming pool behind the mansion where Sasse will live with his family, the school confirmed. Construction on the addition to the 7,400-square-foot, four-bedroom residence started in November and is nearly complete, ahead of Sasse’s first day on the job Feb. 6. Beyond a perimeter fence, mounds of dirt and pallets of pavers were set to the left of the house, promising a finished pool in coming weeks. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Can hybrid super reefs defend the coasts? UM leading research for military project

To protect coastal bases, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has enlisted corals, oysters and three international teams of scientists led by investigators at the University of Miami, the University of Hawaii and Rutgers University. The researchers are developing what they call “hybrid reefs,” which combine concrete structures with living coral reefs and oyster beds to break up damaging waves. [Source: Miami Herald]

New College students say DeSantis' board appointments go against Sarasota school's values

Despite what is usually a quiet month of January for Sarasota's New College of Florida, word still spread fast among students about Gov. Ron DeSantis' plans to reshape the school. On Friday, DeSantis announced six new appointments to the college's 13-member board of trustees that would amount to a conservative takeover of the governing body. The appointments come as the governor looks to shift the historically liberal New College toward the political right, appointing conservative activist Christopher Rufo and also a current dean from Hillsdale College. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and WGCU.

How UCF, other Orlando colleges rank for change in average wages

The University of Central Florida is among the colleges and universities where pay across employees on average was higher from 2019 to 2022. This comes from U.S. Department of Education data, compiled from an American City Business Journals analysis, comparing pay for all schools with 100 or more full-time equivalent instructional non-medical staff — including both non-instructional and instructional positions. [Source: Orlando Business Journal]


› Jane Bunker’s art exhibition in St. Petersburg benefits college students
Gulfport-based artist Jane Bunker paints beautiful flowers. But just as the seeds in the sumptuous lilies she depicts make new blooms, Bunker’s paintings are seeds from which opportunity grows. Bunker donates the profits from the sale of her paintings — on display at St. Petersburg’s Soft Water Gallery Jan. 14-March 4 — to the Woodson Warriors Scholarship Fund. She established the fund in 2019 while volunteering at The Woodson African American Museum of Florida by approaching executive director Terri Lipsey Scott.

› After outcry, ex-FIU president won’t return to teach. But he will still get a $376K salary
After two faculty groups condemned his return as a professor to Florida International University, former president Mark Rosenberg — who stepped down last year amid a misconduct allegation — will not teach this spring and instead will work on a research project, a move that will cut his contact with students. For at least this semester, which started Monday, Rosenberg will work at FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, said Maydel Santana, a university spokeswoman.

› FAMU Law opens Economic Justice Clinic in Orlando
Florida A&M University’s Law School In Orlando opened an Economic Justice Clinic this month to provide free legal services to small and minority-owned businesses and nonprofits. Economic justice is the idea that the economy will be more successful if it is fairer.

› FGCU presidential search poised for restart
A search committee is getting two new members as it again looks for a successor to outgoing Florida Gulf Coast University President Mike Martin. Black Gable, chairman of the university’s trustees, said Tuesday that Arie van Duijn and Ashley Coone will no longer sit on the 13-member committee and will be replaced by trustee Joseph Fogg and professor Shelton Weeks.

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