The Faculty Senate has every right to be concerned with the end of its contract on Jan. 7. This entire issue comes down to the Florida Board of Education and the governor’s office. They should be willing to give the faculties of Florida’s universities some hope for their futures. The contracts should be extended and professors’ salaries, tenure and bargaining rights should be looked after even if a new contract isn’t in place by Jan. 7.
Florida’s universities, and USF in particular, have been gaining positive notoriety in recent years, notoriety that isn’t based on sports, but academics. To damage the relationship between faculty and administration is to damage the quality of education for Florida’s students.
If on Jan. 7 there is no new contract and no contract extension, then university professors have no reason to stay at Florida schools. Without them, the state will forfeit all the strides it has made in improving education.
The only thing that the faculties are asking is that they receive some good faith concessions from those in control. At USF, the Board of Trustees is hiding behind President Genshaft and asking her to reassure the Faculty Senate that all will be well come January, when they have presented no evidence that everything will be all right.
If the state of Florida won’t protect the rights of professors in its universities, then what reason do students have to believe it will protect theirs? Florida should give its faculties something to work with before they decide it isn’t worth the hassle.