Five more University of Florida professors say officials restricted their participation in legal challenges to state laws

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 12:23 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -More University of Florida professors are coming forward to accuse the university of stifling their ability to testify in legal cases according to media outlets. It comes after UF officials blocked three professors from testifying in a legal challenge to the state’s new election laws.

RELATED STORY: University of Florida prohibits professors from testifying

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, UF College of Medicine Jacksonville Professor Jeffrey Goldhagen’s request to testify pro bono on the pandemic’s effect on children was denied. He was asked by parents suing Governor Ron DeSantis over his ban on mask mandates to testify against the state.

The Miami Herald reports, four professors were kept from identifying their UF affiliation when signing a brief for a felon’s voting rights case. 93 professors from across the nation joined the amicus brief, only the four UF professors, Kenneth Nunn, Sarah K. Wolking, Teresa Jean Reid, and Mark Fenster, didn’t include their university affiliation.

University officials are now allowing Professors Daniel Smith, Michael McDonald, and Sharon Austin to testify in the cases against the state’s new election laws as long as they are not being compensated. UF President Kent Fuchs said a task force will review the university’s conflict on interest policy.

RELATED STORY: UF professors can testify in voting rights lawsuit if they do not receive pay, officials say

The professors were initially told only that testifying would be “adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution.” The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools sent a letter to Fuchs asking for clarification on the incident. The organization will then determine if the university violated its rules.

RELATED STORY: Accreditation firm investigating UF professors testimony incident

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