UFF-FSU Chapter Election Results, 2024

All listed candidates were easily elected, along with a few write-ins. Our new (and not so new) UFF-FSU elected leadership, effective immediately is as follows:

Officers: Robin Goodman, President & Senator; Arash Fahim, Vice President & Senator; Jennifer Proffitt, Vice President & Senator; Michael Buchler, Secretary & Senator; Paul Polonski, Treasurer

Senators: Brian Arsenault, Andrew Ballard, Anne Barrett, Malia Bruker, Elyse Budkie, David Butcher, Geoffrey Deibel, Mark Feulner, Jack Fiorito, Michael Franklin, Leila Gibradze, Jenny Grill, Azat Gundogan, Mary Frances Hanline, Scott Hannahs, Anasa Hicks, Phil Hiver, Eundeok Kim, Mai Kung, Randolph Langley, Laurie Lawrence, Eric Ludwig, Amy McKenna, Beth Olmo, Mostafa Papi, Victor Patrangenaru, Teresa Roach, Dave Rodriguez, Nancy Rogers, Kelly Russell, Rose Skepple, Yanshuo Sun, Camille Thomas, Stephen Tripodi, Lisa Turner-DeVera, Stacey VanDyke, Zina Ward, Carl Whittington, Svenja Wolf, Frankie Wong

Alternate Senators: Tarez Graban, Joseph Hellweg, Daniel Luedtke, Meredith Lynn, Carla Peterson, Dragana Popovich, Hannah Schwadron

FEA Delegates: Andrew Ballard, Michael Buchler, David Butcher, Mark Feulner, Robin Goodman, Scott Hannahs, Jennifer Proffitt, Rose Skepple

Statement by UFF/FSU and GAU-FSU on the Presidential Search

The United Faculty of Florida has not endorsed any candidate for President of FSU.   However, we know that the person chosen will be the public face of the University.   He or she will establish the tone and content of discourse on our campus.  We need a President with a demonstrated commitment to public education.   We need a President who can work with us and who supports public employees’ efforts to organize and advocate.   We need a President who understands academia and will commit to providing a safe, supportive, and open environment for faculty and graduate assistants as we serve our students.  And, yes, our new President must be able to raise funds and work with the Legislature and the business community to move our University forward.

Most of the nine final candidates for this position meet these criteria.  We are concerned, though, that one of the applicants, our current State Commissioner of Education, is being promoted for the wrong reasons.   These appear to be political and not because he has any history of supporting public education, experience with higher education, or any connection to Florida State.  Further, the Commissioner’s seat on the Board of Governors, which oversees the entire process, implies a conflict of interest.  All of this gives cause for great concern both as regards this process and FSU’s national reputation.   Finally, we repudiate quotes used to support his candidacy attributed to a former Florida Education Association officer.

The process has been flawed from the beginning.   First, the Florida Legislature attempted to pass a bill (SB220) exempting most of the search process from public scrutiny as required by the Sunshine Laws.   UFF and our allies fought throughout the Legislative Session to stop this bill and did in fact succeed in keeping the search process open.  The Search Committee then waited to release applicant information until less than a day before selecting finalists to be interviewed.  Stakeholders had no time to evaluate the candidates and provide informed comment.   Unfortunately, the University has announced that Search Committee meetings with the finalists will not be live-streamed and that in-person attendance will be strictly limited.   Once again, this limits stakeholders’ ability to provide input and violates the spirit of the Sunshine Laws.   And the Southern Association of Colleges, our accrediting body, has sent our Board of Governors a letter warning about the Commissioner’s conflicts of interest and the politicization of the search process.   This poses an enormous risk to the University.  

Again, no one at UFF has endorsed the Commissioner.   Given the strength of the candidate pool, handing the job to a political appointee with no experience in university administration and a history of hostility to public education risks doing a tremendous disservice to the entire FSU community.  We call upon the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees to make a reasoned and informed decision based on the candidates’ histories, experience, and public statements.   Our University has made great progress over the last decade.   Please keep us on this path to success.

In solidarity,

Matthew Lata, President, UFF/FSU Chapter

Ben Serber, President, FSU-GAU

Statement from FSU Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board

This is the statement written by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Advisory Board in response to the university’s Remote Work policy and Repopulation plan. Though the university at first told the Board that they had to take their statement down from their own website, it has approved this revised version and now it also appears on their website.

Statement from Members of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board on Remote Working, Caring and Equity. 

COVID-19 has laid bare existing social, economic and racial inequities and injustices in the United States, and in our institutions of Higher Education. Grave gender disparities in the average distribution of caregiving work have been documented, while job security and the right to work remotely, ensuring safety and convenience, are opportunities afforded only to the most privileged. FSU’s recent announcement that “effective August 7, 2020, the University will return to normal policy and no longer allow employees to care for children while working remotely” presents a threat to the physical, emotional and job security of the university’s employees. This threat is felt most urgently by the lowest-paid members of staff, who are disproportionately female-identifying and/or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). 

We acknowledge that an HR Town Hall on Wednesday July 1 and an announcement Thursday July 2 apologized for the timing of the initial announcement, which coincided with an on-going surge in Coronavirus cases locally and state-wide, and for any confusion and distress arising as a result of that. At the Town Hall Kyle Clark clarified that if Leon County schools do not reopen physically or open later than the planned start date of August 10, then the remote working whilst caring for children policy will continue until they do reopen. The July 2 announcement stated that “We want to be clear – our policy does allow employees to work from home while caring for children;” however, the policy itself is problematic and iniquitous. 

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Happy New Year

Colleagues –

On behalf of the UFF and the UFF Executive Committee, I’d like to wish you
all the very best for the New Year and for the upcoming semester.

2015 was busy and productive. Our bargaining team made good progress in several areas during negotiations, much as the result of years-long discussions.

As many of you are aware, Market Equity raises were implemented for the first time last fall. Both Administration and the UFF agree that these are just a first step to raising
FSU salaries to market levels across the board, and look forward to continued progress in this area during next spring’s bargaining sessions. These raises, added to an across-the-board increase for all faculty, both regular and specialized, and increased amounts available for Administrative Discretionary Increases, placed FSU’s average salary increase at the very top of all schools in the State University System. Our priorities moving forward will be negotiating cost-of-living increases, continued progress in Market Equity, and increased focus on raises for Specialized Faculty. We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.

For the first time, faculty members on nine-month appointments now have the option
of being paid over twelve months in equal increments. For those who did not have the
opportunity to take advantage of this option last summer, there will be another enrollment period in August 2016.

Legislative priorities will continue to challenge us during the upcoming Session. Again, reflecting faculty sentiment, we will be out front in opposition to bills allowing guns on campus. We are concerned about how the Legislature proposes codifying the same performance metrics for every stage college and university, regardless of specialty, history, or need. This micro-management could result in a punitive application of arbitrary standards rather than a serious, reasoned examination of the quality of each institution. We’ll also be following issues of higher education access and textbook affordability.

More information on each of these issues will be posted as appropriate later this winter. The results of our December faculty poll will be online shortly after January 1, and will be an important factor in determining our bargaining priorities when that process starts in February.

On the social side, we continue to invite colleagues to meet and greet, usually on the last Friday of each month. Our UFF Goes to the Opera event was very well received, with over 120 UFF members and guests in attendance. We are continuing to increase our membership, and are grateful to all who have joined. Once again, we can only be as strong as our numbers.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us with questions or concerns.
And again, wishing all a productive and Happy New Year.

Very best regards,