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Florida professors may lose their positions for violating state race regulations

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A controversial law designed to restrict the way certain race-related topics can be taught in Florida classrooms could enter a new review process for college professors, under a proposal that higher education officials will consider next week.

The proposed regulation links two laws passed by the legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis this year.

One law allowed the state’s University System Board of Governors to adopt a bylaw requiring permanent professors to undergo a “comprehensive post-position” review every five years.

On November 10, the board of directors is scheduled to consider the draft regulation. The proposal lays out the criteria that will be included in the professors’ reviews and makes clear that compliance with the Race Instruction Act will be considered.

The Race Instructions Act (HB 7), which DeSantis dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act,” or “Stop WOKE Act” — one of the most contentious issues in the 2022 legislative session that set up a federal law — has been challenging the court. The law enumerates several concepts that could constitute discrimination if they were included in teaching.

For example, the law targets instruction that “forces” students to believe that they bear “personal responsibility and should feel guilt, distress, or other psychological distress because of actions in which the person played no role, and which were committed in the past” by individuals of the same race or gender.

The proposed tenure review regulation would make “any violation” of the Stop WOKE Act one of seven criteria to be considered. If the performance of the faculty is deemed unsatisfactory, they may face dismissal.

Faculty members will receive a “performance assessment” under this process. The deans recommend assessments that may be accepted, rejected, or modified by the university’s senior academic officials.

“For each faculty member who receives a final performance evaluation that ‘does not meet expectations,’ the appropriate dean of the faculty, in consultation with the faculty member’s department chair, proposes a performance improvement plan to the chief academic officer,” the proposal said.

Professors who are instructed to pursue improvement plans will be awarded for a year to meet the requirements set forth in the plans.

The proposal also said: “Each faculty member with a final performance rating of ‘unsatisfactory’ will receive a notice of termination from the Chief Academic Officer.”

Florida United College vehemently opposed the Race Instruction Act. In July, the union published an article on its website titled “HB 7: What UFF Members Need to Know About the “Stop WOKE Act,” describing the law as “appalling” and advising faculty about its potential effects.

“Please be aware that if you, as a member of the UFF, experience any discipline, harm or other negative action from your supervisor or organization in response to your attempts to get around the prohibitions in HB 7, you should immediately contact your local union leaders for support,” the part said. Introductory of the publication.

Democrats who opposed the measure during the legislative session argued, in part, that DeSantis was pushed for political reasons, with the governor making his fight against critical race theory and “indoctrination” in schools a central pillar of his education agenda.

The Tenure Review Act (SB 7044) was sponsored by former Senator Manny Diaz, R. Hiale, and Senator Ray Rodriguez, R. Estero. Diaz later left the legislature to become the state’s education commissioner, while Rodriguez will next week become an advisor to the university system.

Part of the proposed regulation indicates that the political opinions of university employees will not be a factor in performance reviews.

“The review should not take into account or discriminate on the basis of the political or ideological views of faculty members,” the proposal read.

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