It’s time for UF to clean the house


UF President Kent Fuchs, Provost Joe Glover, Dean Michael Perri and Dean Colleen Koch are expected to step down immediately. Dan Mullen’s side surrendering 52 points to Samford lasted for a nasty few hours, but the actions of Fuchs, Glover, Perri and Koch permanently damaged the reputation of the university and abdicated its mission.

Through numerous reports and court records, it is safe to conclude that Fuchs and Glover are more concerned with protecting Governor DeSantis’ ego than upholding the university’s mission of “sharing the benefits of his research and knowledge. for the public good ”.

Fuchs and Glover banned expert testimony from three political science professors renowned for their work on electoral behavior, two law professors with over 60 years of combined service at UF, and one faculty professor of medicine specializing in public health and pediatrics.

What about the cases in which Fuchs and Glover forbid them to testify? Cases that sought to protect voting rights uphold Florida’s constitutional amendment allowing those convicted of felony to vote (which two-thirds of voters supported) and authorize interventions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The reason? This expert testimony would be “contrary to the interests of the university”. The definition of the interests of the university has not yet been provided. Instead, the only information we learned is that UF has a director of crisis communications and an assistant vice president for conflict of interest on the payroll.

The only response from Fuchs and Glover was to set up a task force riddled with conflicts of interest. Fuchs and Glover attempted to transform the three-legged college stool of teaching, research, and service into a one-legged stool to satisfy the governor’s political desires. They haven’t yet realized that this one-legged stool will always fall, due to accreditation inquiries, low morale among faculty and students, and a drop in rankings.

In doing so, Fuchs and Glover not only ignored the university’s mission, but also tarnished the university’s reputation and violated the faculty’s constitutional rights and collective agreement.

Meanwhile, Perri and Koch made it possible to accelerate the hiring of Dr Joseph Ladapo, something many suspected and something we now know to be true thanks to reporting from the Tallahassee Democrat. Throughout this pandemic, Ladapo has repeatedly been on the side of his new colleagues in medicine and public health, be it his support for hydroxychloroquine – a drug with risks but no benefits, according to clinical trials – his opposition to the FDA approval of COVID -19 vaccines – whose clinical trials have been shown to be safe and effective – or his participation in a press conference alongside Stella Immanuel who believes in the existence of “demon sperm “And” extraterrestrial DNA “.

The deans of the faculties of medicine and public health, respectively, should have considered not only Ladapo’s unsubstantiated beliefs and their impact on the health of Floridians, but also the integrity of the faculty recruitment process. . Instead, they were “closely involved in supporting Ladapo throughout the hiring process.”

Without the resignations of Fuchs, Glover, Perri and Koch, where does it end? Will medical students learn that masks are not necessary in the operating room? Will professors be banned from carrying out research contrary to the governor’s beliefs? Will doctoral students be prevented from publishing a thesis on a subject that makes the governor uncomfortable? Will the university’s accreditation be revoked?

It’s time to save UF’s reputation and get the college community focused on its mission.

Mike Swain holds a doctorate. Candidate for the epidemiology department of UF.

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