Wasserman Schultz: UF Must Reverse Free Speech Restraints on Professors

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Sunrise, Florida, October 31, 2021 | comments
If allowed to stand, the restraint of these professors’ speech will undermine every UF claim to honor academic independence and free speech. It will damage UF’s ability to recruit and retain top faculty and stifle fundraising. UF will stand out in anti-academic exile, rather than an exemplar of higher learning.
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Sunrise, Fla. – U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement in response to University of Florida administrators informing its professors that they could not testify in a voting rights lawsuit challenging the discriminatory impact of a new state law on minorities because it was “adverse to UF’s interests.” The Congresswoman is a University of Florida graduate:

“UF’s decision to prevent its professors from speaking out in court against a state law that suppresses minority voting rights is appalling. As one of three generations of Gators, this action brings nothing but shame to our alma mater. It is deeply embarrassing. We must speak out and renounce it. If allowed to stand, the restraint of these professors’ speech will undermine every UF claim to honor academic independence and free speech. It will damage UF’s ability to recruit and retain top faculty and stifle fundraising. UF will stand out in anti-academic exile, rather than an exemplar of higher learning.  My hope is that President Kent Fuchs swiftly reverses this egregious action. Laws meant to suppress minority voting rights and undermine democracy are not in the interest of UF, its students or the state of Florida. Nor is gagging professors brave enough to speak out and oppose such laws. The university must serve the public, not its politicians.”

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