Election response

First, I want to thank President Thrasher for his recent memo encouraging tolerance and mutual respect in the wake of the election.

I don’t know what the response of your students has been. It certainly varies with politics and discipline. But as someone who teaches small classes and one-on-one lessons, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. Many students are having legitimate issues concentrating. Many feel adrift, looking for perhaps what they didn’t even acknowledge that they needed – the bedrock of patriotism, belief in country, and faith in democracy. It’s not enough to tell them to suck it up and accept the result. This was not a normal election, but a process that changed the nature of our political discourse and freed some of the darkest demons in the American soul. Student responses are real and should be respected.

What do we as educators, do to settle our own minds and continue to mentor and encourage our students to move ahead with confidence? Our own politics will determine whether we support or oppose the new administration, and no one is bound to do either. But we are challenged to acknowledge, even if we don’t accept all points of view and then do what we can to change them.

I have a student who is writing a one-act opera for an undergrad Honors in the Major project. It’s based on Kafka’s “DER PROZESS” – THE TRIAL – dealing with the themes of totalitarianism, mind control, and decay. He finds that all of a sudden – his words – the work has become frighteningly relevant. How do the rest of us answer? Here is a paraphrased version of the closing of Leonard Bernstein’s famous speech after the death of JFK 53 years ago today. That was the day when, as a fourth grader, I first learned about violence.

“The nature of our situation is immensely aggravated by the element of violence involved in it, without restricting those elements to a single ideology. And where does this violence spring from? From ignorance and hatred — the exact antonyms of Learning and Reason. Learning and Reason: two simple words. Every person can pick them up where they have fallen and make them part of themselves – the seeds of rational intelligence without which our world can no longer survive. This must be the mission of every person of goodwill: to insist, unflaggingly, at risk of becoming a repetitive bore, but to insist on the achievement of a world in which the mind will have triumphed over violence and intolerance.

Anger, disappointment, and fear should not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our efforts to do what we do. Organize. Advocate. Our work may never again be quite the same. This will be our reply: to make art – to teach – to study – to write – to research – more intensely and with more focus than ever before. And with each effort we will honor the true spirit of humanity and reaffirm all of our beliefs in the Triumph of the Mind.”


As you are well aware, we are in the last days of one of the most consequential election cycles in our history.  We have a choice to make in two weeks, and the options before us could not be more different.   Victory in the State of Florida is critical to both parties, and we have a responsibility to make our voices heard.  The results will affect our lives, our country, and our children.  We are not only choosing a President, but a Senator, Representatives, a Stage Legislature, and local officials.  We are also voting on the future of solar energy and other ballot initiatives.

Here are endorsements from our colleagues at the Florida Education Association and the AFL-CIO:

FEA Recommendations:   http://feaweb.org/_data/files/2016_Elections/FEA-candidate-list-state.pdf

Florida AFL-CIO:  http://www.flaflcio.org/

National AFL-CIO:         http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation

How you vote is of course a very private decision.  However, our colleagues have looked at the candidates and examined the issues closely.   We take these recommendations seriously because we believe they are in the interest of higher education, organized labor, and working families across our state.

Early voting begins TODAY, October 24 and runs through November 6.  Absentee ballots can still be ordered.  And, of course, Election Day is November 8.

For those who might be interested, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the process, whether phone banking, driving voters to the polls, leafleting, or other activity.

Please contact me if you’d like more information.

Really, this will be over soon.  It’s not been a very positive process.  But VOTE!  Do everything you can to encourage family and friends to do the same.   Florida is Ground Zero for this election.   Stand with our colleagues, both in and out of the Union.  Do what’s best for our University, our community, our state, and our country.  Every vote counts!

Matthew Lata

President, UFF-FSU Chapter







Ratification of contract

FSU faculty are invited to voting on the ratification of the new 2016-2019 contract
on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24.  All faculty are eligible to vote, regardless
of union affiliation. Voting must be in person.   Polling places and times are as follows:
9am-11am  UNIVERSITY CENTER C ROOM 3101 (Comm.)
10am-12noon  KEURSTEINER LOUNGE (Keursteiner Music Building)
10am-12noon CAROTHERS LOBBY (East end of building)
1pm-3pm  MAG LAB LOBBY
For a description of the changes negotiated to the existing contract, go to the UFF
webpage at uff-fsu.org and look under “news” on the homepage.  The full proposed contract may also be accessed through a link on the May 11 news item.
Please vote and make your views known!

Collective Bargaining Contract Negotiation Update 2016-05-10

The UFF and the FSU Administration have tentatively agreed upon a new 3 year contract.  This year the whole contract was open for renegotiation and changes were made to several articles.  This contract must be ratified by a vote of faculty and by the FSU Board of Trustees.  Look for details on the significant changes to your contract soon:

UFF-FSU Collective Bargaining Agreement 2016-2019

The individual articles tentatively agreed to by your negotiating team are

Article 1:   Recognition
Article 2:   Consultation
Article 5:   Academic Freedom
Article 6:   Nondiscrimination
Article 8:   Appointment
Article 9:   Assignment of Responsibilities
Article 12: Non-Reappointment
Article 17: Leaves
Article 20: Grievance
Article 22: Sabbaticals
Article 23: Salaries
Article 24: Benefits
Article 25: Payroll Deduction
Article 30: Amendment and Duration
Appendix B: Sample Dues Check-off Form
Appendix H: Dispute Resolution