As Ron DeSantis and his compliant legislature tightens their control of tenure and academic freedom in the state’s public universities, many of the faculty at the private University of Miami have joined to protest the attack on their colleagues.

It has long been said that the states are “laboratories of democracy.” If you wonder why I post so much about Florida, it is because it has become a “laboratory of fascism,” where the state’s leadership is intent on controlling thought and expression, research and study.

Nearly 1,000 faculty, staff and students at the University of Miami have signed an open letter opposing a state bill moving through the Florida Legislature that they say is an “unprecedented attempt to exert political control over free thought and professional expertise in higher education.”

As a private university, UM isn’t funded or governed by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the 12 public universities in the state. As such, it wouldn’t be affected by House Bill 999, and its companion Senate Bill 266, which could make it harder for professors to hold onto tenure and would give university presidents the authority to hire and fire faculty, instead of deans, department chairs and faculty committees currently making those decisions.

Because of these proposals and others in the bills, some of UM’s faculty, staff and students are “standing in solidarity” with their counterparts at Florida International University and the state’s other public universities.

“We affirm our commitment to the principles and practices of academic freedom and shared governance in all Florida institutions of higher education, whether public or private,” reads the missive, which a small group of UM faculty members started in early April and now want to share with as many people as possible, particularly elected officials…

Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at UM, said she stamped her name on the open letter because she sees the bills as an attack not only on education, but on democracy.

“I’m incredibly angry, and I’m concerned for students everywhere, and I’m particularly saddened for my fellow faculty members at public universities,” she said. “Florida is becoming known as a state where intellectual freedom goes to die.”

Read more at: