A faculty organization said it will formally review the state of Florida’s efforts to reform tenure. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) said it will formally investigate the Sunshine State’s tenure reform law over concerns it will repress academics’ free speech.
The Tampa Bay Times reported the news about AAUP’s investigation.
AAUP’s announcement said that it will investigate “an apparent pattern of politically and racially motivated attacks on higher education.” The announcement came on the heels of the organization’s condemnation of state college presidents in Florida for following DeSantis’s lead on the “Stop Woke Act.”
It is likely that AAUP responded the way it did because of Florida’s actions regarding higher education. Under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida professors will have to face an official review due to the passage of the Postsecondary Education bill into law in April 2022. According to the law, the Florida board of governors will review tenured professors’ work every five years and determine if their work meets the review standards. If their work does not meet standards, they will not be retained.
AAUP’s investigation will be conducted by a committee of members who do not work in the state of Florida. They will interview university officials, state officials, and faculty leaders, to name a few. The association’s president, Irene Mulvey, said that they have been “objecting to and condemning the appalling things we see in higher ed in Florida.” Mulvey affirmed, “This committee is an indication of how serious the situation is…. It’s crystal clear that right now is a crucial time for democracy and higher education. It’s time for people to stand up for democracy and higher education.”
But AAUP is not the only voice critical of Florida’s reform of higher education. The left-wing teachers’ union, American Federation of Teachers, also criticized state efforts to reform Florida’s colleges and universities.