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‘Institutions cannot run off secrets’: Proposed Senate Bill would blind public from universities presidential search

‘Institutions cannot run off secrets’: Proposed Senate Bill would blind public from universities presidential search
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 10:34 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - University of Florida professors are worried about a senate bill on the way to passing that would blind the public from information about university presidential candidates.

“Institutions cannot run off secrets,” United Faculty of Florida at UF President Paul Ortiz said.

As the University of Florida is in need of a president, Senate Bill 520 would block the public from seeing identifiable information of presidential applicants at universities until finalists are chosen.

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According to president Paul Ortiz, The United Faculty of Florida at UF has concerns.

“We believe that the public should have knowledge and opportunity to have input over such an important search,” Ortiz said. “Students go here because they value public education. SB 520 is not honoring that rich tradition of public education and that’s why we oppose it.”

District 24 Senator Dennis Baxley is in favor of the bill, as he says it’s a better process for finding presidential candidates at universities.

“It’s a professional way to look at the best applicants who can be under a lot of pressure if they’re exposed simply because they applied for consideration,” Baxley said.

Ortiz believes some lawmakers are making false assumptions about why the process shouldn’t be public.

“If their current employer knows, they’ll get in trouble, etc, etc,” Ortiz said. “That’s just not true.”

A similar bill is in the house.

“This bill will make it easier for political appointees to take up the presidential positions instead of highly qualified higher education leaders,”

BAXLEY SAYS PEOPLE WILL SEE THE FINALISTS BEFORE THE DECISION IS MADE

“I appreciate their input that they want to be a part of this and I think we’re still making them a part of that by being able to have an open look at all the finalists,” United Faculty of Florida President Andrew Gothard said.

The third reading of the bill and vote is expected on Thursday when the senate meets again.

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