Three University of Florida political science professors wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece their response to UF’s silencing them as they seek to testify in a court case challenging Florida’s controversial voter suppression law, Senate Bill 90.
“As political science professors, each of us teaches, writes and speaks every day on issues of voting and democracy. For years, our expertise has been valued by our employer, the University of Florida. So we were stunned to learn last month that the university was barring us from testifying in an upcoming legal challenge to Florida’s new voting law, S.B. 90.”
“The university’s move is a gross violation of academic freedom; more importantly, though, it’s an undermining of our mission to serve the people of Florida — all of them — as employees of a state research university.”
“We have worked on cases like this before without objection from university officials. But with S.B. 90, a piece of legislation that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law live on Fox News, the university has offered a series of shifting rationales to justify blocking us from testifying. In our view, all the rationales reveal is a fear of retribution from political actors for our testimony.”
“First, the university tried to block our participation by claiming our testimony would be ‘adverse’ to Florida’s interests. We do not understand how identifying racial and ethnic discrimination in voting laws could possibly harm the state.”
“As an institution that ‘strives to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all students, employees, partners, and visitors,’ shouldn’t the university be pleased with our efforts to examine whether voting discrimination exists in Florida?”