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University of Florida releases results of task force and response to inquiry on conflict of interest policy

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 10:12 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The University of Florida has released recommendations presented to President Kent Fuchs after the university faced backlash for blocking professors from testifying in cases against the state. They also released their response to an inquiry by a college accreditation organization.

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Fuchs is approving the recommendations presented by a task force formed to reexamine the conflict of interest policy. The recommendations include presuming faculty or staff requests to testify as expert witnesses will be granted where the State of Florida is a party.

Requests will only be denied “when clear and convincing evidence establishes that such testimony would conflict with an important and particularized interest of the university...” or if there is a conflicting time commitment.

Those who are denied will have the opportunity to appeal the decision. For some employees, collective bargaining agreements may need to be adjusted. Click here for the full list of approved recommendations.

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Faculty members have criticized the task force for consisting of primarily administration officials rather than a third party selected by employees.

“I am grateful to the task force members for their diligence and transparency in addressing this very important matter,” Fuchs said.

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The school also released its response to an inquiry launched by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The organization asked whether outside individuals, entities, or the university governing board were involved in the decision to bar professors from testifying. The university claims there was no outside influence on the approval process.

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