Hello everyone and welcome to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University also known as (FAMU).  I introduce you to FAMU because I would like to take a moment to set the stage of what “we the FAMU faculty” currently experience while we give an extraordinary effort to serve this this community and produce the absolute best graduates in America with little support from University Administration. We have a broad and diverse background and most importantly “we the FAMU faculty” have families, financial aspirations, hopes, dreams, and of course bills that must be paid just like all other Florida residents and Americans! Inflation is the highest that it has been since the 1980’s US President Ronald Reagan’s era.  Make no mistake, this isn’t a political manifesto praising one party or the other because that’s not the point, topic, theme, or underlying meaning. This welcome merely uses facts to tell the truth about some of the things that “we the FAMU faculty” are faced with every day. The so-called leaders of the state of Florida would have the people believe that the global pandemic COVID-19 hasn’t had a significant negative impact on Floridians, and that the pandemic is over. Quite the contrary,

 August 9, 2022 COVID-19 UPDATE

  • COVID-19 Global Confirmed Cases: 585,470,777
  • Global Confirmed Deaths: 6,420,428
  • United States Confirmed Cases: 92,241,308
  • US Confirmed Deaths: 1,034,021
  • Florida Confirmed Cases: 6,855,234
  • Florida Confirmed Deaths: 78,047
  • The state of Florida has vaccinated only 69.82% of its total population as of today (August 9, 2022).

The facts show that the COVID-19 global pandemic is not over.  And there is no real guidance from the Florida Department of Health to help eradicate this problematic virus. Now add the 2022 Florida legislative attack on everything from higher education to Mickey Mouse and the Tampa Bay Rays major league baseball team.  2022 marks an unprecedented year that the Florida legislature attacked that classroom at every level for instance in K-12 the word “gay” can’t be used without some type of undecided consequence, along with an inability to use the word “slavery” when teaching a class on African American Experience.  In higher education specifically the Florida Legislature is waging an all out attack on academic freedom with the passage of legislation like HB#233 that: 1) intends to silence students and faculty due to fear of the possibility of being captured on secret recordings during class, 2) this law also ensures that racist and other hate speech is not restricted on higher education campuses and that individuals can take legal action against administrations that choose to restrict such speech, and 3) the Governor and other Florida leaders have publicly threatened to defund institutions whose survey results don’t match conservative values. There is no guarantee the surveys will be anonymous, and there are no limits upon the kinds of questions these surveys can ask, nor upon where and how the results can be published. In other words, these surveys are a weapon designed to benefit a particular political party in power and to punish and punish everyone that disagrees. 

HB#7 and HB #7044 (also known as Post tenure review) are both now ridiculous laws that passed the Florida legislature during the 2022 session.  The former HB#7044 in and amongst other things requires all Florida public colleges and universities to stop seeking accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  The implication from the basic implementation of the law as originally written by the Florida legislature shows the extreme lack of understanding and knowledge regarding federal accreditation. If the law had passed as originally written it would have left virtually all Florida public colleges and universities without an accrediting body -> that means according to the proposed law-> Florida’s public colleges and universities ran the risk of receiving no federal funding of any type until they would regain their federal accreditation from some entity other than SACSCOC (i.e., before the bill’s introduction the typical Florida college or university would not have those type relationships with any federal accrediting agency other than SACSCOC). The law stemmed from the governor’s disdain for the association sharing its opinion on the governor’s illegal attempt to violate the University of Florida faculty’s 1st amendment rights.  The UFF state organization joined in a lawsuit against the state of Florida regarding this matter that will go to trial this fall.  We could literally go on and on regarding how the state of Florida continues to destroy education throughout the entire state system. 

Returning to “we the FAMU faculty” position, it is clear and based on the facts at hand, on recent history, and just simply our current situation, we need to organize around the education issues, get out to vote in November 2022, and sustain the momentum that we currently have throughout the school year.  Our objectives for 2022 are simple and clear: protect the bargaining units rights, ensure that the rights and privileges contained in the CBA are followed, and to persuade the University Administrators to correct the disparities in pay for FAMU’s bargaining unit and the other schools within the State University System.  To accomplish this, we need each one of you to join as a member, volunteer, and become more actively involved with the plan to have FAMU break into the top 100 colleges and universities.

In solidarity,

Roscoe Hightower, Jr., PhD.
Centennial Eminent Scholar Chair and Professor of Marketing and Facility Management | EuroFM Ambassador to the United States | President of FAMU United Faculty of Florida (UFF) Labor Union Chapter | Facility Management Accreditation Commission (FMAC) Board of Commissioners

FAMU First FAMU Forward FAMU Forever,

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