Weclome Back Message: President Sasse’s Recent Comments and an Appeal to Join UFF Now!

Dear Colleague,

I write to offer my best wishes for the start of the academic year, and to express my concern, as your union Chapter President, about some of President Sasse’s recent comments in public and in closed meetings that have dismayed so many.

In the past years, UFF has worked hard to help our colleagues through the traumas and upheaval of the COVID pandemic, assaults on our academic freedom, sinking salaries, and attacks from xenophobic culture-warrior politicians on our very profession. As a result, we’ve seen and recorded the signs of demoralization and burnout everywhere. We remain committed to supporting faculty with all our resources, both locally and across the state. 

Unfortunately, where we see an understandable response to these extraordinary pressures, and consequent “brain drain,” President Sasse points his finger at faculty who have allegedly “quietly retired.”  

Instead of considering why some faculty may have lost their commitment to UF, and wondering how, as a leader, he could work with those faculty to increase their job satisfaction and thereby their productivity, President Sasse seems more inclined to squeeze the UF workforce to make his mark, using tired and debunked accountability” metrics and management consultant strategies.

While paying lip-service to feedback, much of President Sasse’s strategy development process, like the UF presidential search that chose him, has been clouded in secrecy, a practice that has harmed a wide range of public institutions. As your Chapter president, I will take President Sasse up on his offer of conversation with faculty to discuss your concerns and help him support your vital work. I plan to contact him very soon and I will keep you informed about his response.

UFF has been, and remains, a source of solidarity for faculty in some of the most difficult moments of our professional lives. But UFF is also under attack by newly enacted state laws.  60% of our bargaining unit must become UFF members by February of 2024 or we will be decertified. Keeping our union will be crucial to the future of UF. Many of the “efficiencies”  indicated by President Sasse’s strategic planning can only be achieved by getting rid of UFF, our collective bargaining agreement, and our collective voice of and for the faculty. 

If you value the voice that UFF provides to all UF faculty, and you are not yet a member, then it’s time to join now.  If you have any questions about membership, please reach out to our membership team: uff-uf-membership@googlegroups.com  If you are already a member, please join edues now.

UF works because you do.

Meera Sitharam, Chapter President