University professors unhappy by Florida Gov. DeSantis’ attempt to hold faculty ‘accountable’

College and university professors are unhappy with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempt to hold faculty “accountable” by imposing a review every five-years for tenured professors.

DeSantis signed the bill into law on Tuesday, which he said is aimed at holding faculty accountable and evaluate their performance, according to WPTV.

“We need to make sure the faculty are held accountable and that they don’t just have tenure forever without having any type of ways to hold them accountable or evaluate what they’re doing,” DeSantis said.

Every five years, under the new law, tenured faculty will be reviewed by the institute’s Board of Trustees.

DeSantis calls it the “most significant tenure reform,” adding that tenured faculty can now be evaluated based on performance.

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Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at the Eau Gallie High School aviation hangar.  (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket / Getty Images)

“Tenure was there to protect people so that they could do ideas that maybe would cause them to lose their job or whatever — academic freedom,” DeSantis said. “Now you’re gonna be in a situation where, OK, if the productivity is not there, if you’re not adding anything, then you can go your separate ways.”

Florida State University student Taylor Walker said at the press conference that tenured faculty members should be held accountable.

“If we’re paying an institution to guide me and expand my mind, should we not be able to hold that institution accountable?,” Walker said.

The law will go into effect on July 1, and some professors are expressing their distaste toward it.

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Entrance Sign at the University of Florida on Sept. 12, 2016, in Gainesville, Florida. (iStock)

Emilio Bruna, a professor of tropical ecology and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida tweeted that she is considering leaving the state as a result of the new law. 

“I’ve never seriously contemplated working anywhere else. Until today. And solely because of decisions made by the Governor and Legislature. I’m guessing I’m not alone, which means the future of Florida’s state universities – and hence of the state itself – could be bleak,” Bruna tweeted.

Another professor at the University of Florida, Megan McVay, tweeted that the state will suffer negatively as a result of the new law.

“If Florida messes with tenure, it seems obvious that they will lose out on hiring and retaining the best faculty, and it will be a downward slide from there,” McVay tweeted.

The Florida State University campus in Tallahassee, Fla. (iStock / iStock)

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The legislation also gained attention from other professors across the nation, with Ryan McNeil, an assistant professor of medicine at Yale University, tweeting that DeSantis is “h–l-bent on destroying [universities].”

“It’s either naive or cowardice for university leaders in Florida to say that DeSantis is eliminating tenure because he doesn’t understand how universities work,” McNeil tweeted.

The American Association of University Professors also took issue with the new law, saying it continues a “relentless crusade to destroy higher ed in Florida.”