The Coalition was founded last summer to support and defend the University and its independence from partisan interference. We rededicated ourselves to the University’s promise of Lux Libertas—light and liberty—and the principles of open inquiry, free speech, academic freedom, equity and inclusion because we saw these principles at risk.
Over the past months we’ve stayed on mission and pointed out specific examples of how our concerns were playing out in hopes of slowing or stopping the damage. We’re making an impact and recently, thankfully, things seem to have quieted down.
While “quiet” is good, it may mean “not making headlines.” Whatever is happening, we are hopeful and will remain vigilant–not just to what’s happening in NC, but also to what’s going on in other states. To that end, a news report’s description of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Planned Sweeping Assault on Autonomy of Public Colleges in Florida caught our attentionas it paints an alarming picture:
A sweeping action to consolidate and centralize governance.
“Records obtained through a series of public-records requests show that DeSantis’ office recently developed a sweeping plan to overhaul higher-education oversight in Florida. The governor’s proposal would have centralized more power in boards run by the governor’s political appointees, made colleges and universities more dependent on money controlled by politicians in Tallahassee, and imposed more restrictions on what schools can teach….”The DeSantis plan would have even stripped university presidents of the ability to hire professors.”
Attacks on tenure, free speech, accreditation, the curriculum.
“They have passed laws ordering community colleges and state universities to dig up details about the personal political beliefs of their employees, making it harder for professors to maintain tenure, interfering with university accreditation, and threatening funding for schools that don’t fall in line with the governor’s efforts to control the teaching of slavery, segregation and institutional racism…”
An expressed belief by leaders that the Florida public universities are too liberal.
“Over the past year, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his allies in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature have been on a crusade against public universities, tarring them as “intellectually repressive” and “socialism factories.”
As we consider what’s going on in Florida as well as other states such as South Dakota, the Coalition’s mission to preserve and protect UNC Chapel Hill from political interference becomes more vital than ever.