On Monday August 16th the United Faculty of Florida sent out a mass email stating that they will hold an on-campus protest on August 23rd on the west side steps of the Administration Building. The email read:
As a majority of faculty prepare to return to campus next week, the Delta variant rips through Florida exceeding 20,000 new cases daily, a record that far exceeds the state’s worst days during January 2021. The governor continues to play politics with our lives and our students’ lives by prohibiting mask mandates and required vaccinations in his bid for re-election in 2022 and national ambitions for 2024. The FAU administration, in the meantime, meekly waits on the sidelines, cautiously watching to see if the other state universities will take the lead in mask mandates or required vaccinations so that we might follow in their wake. We are tired. We are frustrated. The semester hasn’t even begun, and we are already being let down by FAU leadership—yet again.
Faculty, students, and staff who are upset at returning back to campus under such dangerous conditions will join UFF-FAU at noon on Monday, August 23, on the west side steps of the Administration Building to stand in solidarity to raise our voices, concerns, and the need to implement the steps outlined in our petition for a safe campus workplace. Over 160 faculty have already signed our petition. We will be giving a press briefing shortly thereafter and will answer any questions reporters might have. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-229-3456.
United Faculty of Florida-FAU President
Following the email blast, our publication reached out to Poole to get more background on this protest.
The union is made up of FAU faculty, librarians, and teachers from the Henderson school and has been around since 1976.
“Our union is very much connected to the ground. We were connecting with the faculty, assessing how faculty feels about returning to campus in the pandemic and faculty are concerned and fearful and extremely cautious and they don’t have confidence in some of the administration at the university,” said Deandre Poole the president of the FAU chapter of UFF.
The protest is open to all faculty regardless of them being apart of the union and given that it is the first day of classes they are expecting anyone who is able, to attend the protest.
When it comes to the pandemic , the union believes that when political figures or other leaders come up with mandates such as not being able to require face coverings, FAU leaders are not as outspoken as they would like them to be
“We recognize that people are fearful of losing their jobs or fearful of upsetting people in power in Tallahassee but we also believe there is an obligation to this university community. We want to see our leaders speak out we want to see them out front leading us because we’re dependent on them to ensure that our campus is safe and protected,” said Poole.
As of now, professors who are teaching during the hours of the protest will still hold class and those who are not teaching during the protest are invited to attend.
The end goal for this protest is recognition for their petition which has already received over 180 signatures. In this petition they call for mask mandates, the option for faculty to make their class remote, and ensure that there are vaccination sites on campus and that students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to get vaccinated and have frequent testing.
The Paradigm Press will be covering the protest via IG Live so be sure to tune in to @theparadigmpress tomorrow at noon.