Commentary

Listen, you U.F. brainiacs: Our Wise Governor will let you know what to think

First Amendment? Who do you think pays the bills around here?

December 13, 2021 7:00 am
University of Florida

University of Florida campus. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

These professors are out of control.

And Mr. Morteza “Mori” Hosseini, chair of the University of Florida Board of Trustees, is not happy, not happy at all.

How dare a bunch of weirdo so-called “scholars” complain about being forbidden to testify against Our Wise Governor’s fine new election laws or teach a class with a title where the words “critical” and “race” appear way too close together?

“Enough,” said Mr. Mori Hosseini. “This behavior is unacceptable. It is disrespectful.”

He assures us he is 110 percent (maybe even more) in favor of “the First Amendment rights of our faculty and their academic freedom to teach, research, publish, and exercise their rights as citizens.”

It’s just that criticizing the trustees, U.F. president Kent Fuchs (careful how you pronounce that, Chief), and Our Wise Governor out loud, where people can hear, is beyond the pale. Verboten. Not OK.

As is launching a petition with nearly 300 faculty signatories demanding that administrators refrain from trying to censor them and asking donors to stop giving U.F. money until the university allows the faculty to say whatever they want.

That’s anarchy.

Mori Hosseini, chair of the University of Florida’s Board of Trustees. Credit: UF website.

Mr. Mori Husseini, who believes totally in freedom of speech, warns, “This will not stand. It must stop and it will stop.”

Obviously, Mr. Mori Hosseini is more qualified to rule U.F. than this bookworm rabble who spend their lives in labs or libraries with their noses in books instead of making millions of dollars building beige houses all over those useless empty parts of Florida.

Sure, he gives a lot of campaign cash to Our Wise Governor: $112,000, to be exact. The rest of the U.F. trustees also cough up considerable moolah.

You think you get to strong-arm a major university for free?

In return for their support, the trustees get good seats at the ball game and some little extras, like forcing the hiring of Joseph Ladapo, the mandate-hating, vaccine-dubious, ivermectin-pushing medical maverick who got fast-tracked to a sweet gig at U.F.’s medical school.

With the impeccable taste the head of the U.F. trustees has shown in every aspect of his life, Hosseini hand-picked Dr. Ladapo and voila! A base salary of $262,000 a year.

Of course, nobody can live on that chump change, so Dr. Ladapo overall will get more than $500,000 from the state as surgeon general and professor of Magical Thinking Medicine.

You hook up with Mr. Mori Hosseini, you reap rewards.

U.F. numbers among its faculty people with fancy Ph.D.s and law degrees from fancy joints like Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and Oxford, but none of them has graduated from such a distinguished institution as the Chelsea College of Aeronautical Engineering, which claims Mori Hosseini as an alumnus.

None has flown the fragrant Casey DeSantis, Florida’s First Lady, on his private jet to visit a defense contractor in Jacksonville.

Sure, U.F. has 20 professors who’ve been elected to the American Academy of Sciences, and it’s produced a couple of Nobel Prize winners, too. Plus a slew of Pulitzer Prizes.

But who would you rather have making decisions for a big time football school, a bunch of losers with good grades or a man who’s made it to the Homebuilders Hall of Fame?

You’d think the nerds would be grateful for such visionary leadership.

The trustees haven’t decided which books will be burned in front of the Marston Science Library, nor insisted that the History faculty go back to telling students that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery.

Yet.

Cleansing institutions of their wicked wokeness takes time.

But the profs are far from expressing gratitude. Some U.F. medical school brainiac is still upset he wasn’t allowed to buck the governor’s decree on masks in school, just because he’s a pediatrician and wanted to protect children.

Some law school profs were told they couldn’t sign onto a brief opposing Florida’s new keep-those-felons-from-voting law.

A passel of U.F. science geeks say government “pressured” them to destroy data on COVID-19 because it might contradict state policy.

They need to learn to follow orders.

Other malcontents, lurking under the live oaks, want to take Our Wise Governor’s rightful job, are making noise.

That Charlie Crist tweeted: “The censorship of University of Florida faculty is unacceptable, undemocratic, and un-American.”

That Nikki Fried says there’s been “inappropriate and unethical political interference” at U.F.: “the chairman of the U.F. Board of Trustees, Mori Hosseini, needs to be removed from his position. Under his leadership, U.F. has fallen from a world-class learning institution to a school that censors its faculty — and the truth.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis was presented with a UF baseball jersey during a campus ceremony on Sept. 12, 2021. Source: Screenshot/Florida Channel

Our Wise Governor had nothing to do with stopping those poly-sci people from appearing in court or keeping those law profs from spouting liberal lies about how Florida’s new voting laws make it harder for blacks, poor people, and old folks to vote.

(You don’t want just anyone voting, do you?)

In any case, Ron DeSantis is absolutely not involved in any way with the university run by his favorite campaign donors. As his spokesmodel said, Gov. DeSantis is “a staunch advocate for academic freedom.”

Especially if you do as you’re told.

Still, these elitists won’t shut up.

Kenneth Nunn, a professor at U.F. for 32 years, had a little whine with his cheese: “I’m supposed to be lending my expertise to people who are out there trying to petition their government for change in one way or another or force change in one way or another.”

Well, that’s his first mistake: There’s nothing wrong with Florida government under the sterling leadership of Our Wise Governor. How could there be?

But this guy doesn’t get it: “I just don’t see why that’s viewed as being a conflict of interest when, in my view, it’s the very core of what university faculty should do.”

Undermine Our Wise Governor? Don’t these eggheads know they work for him?

“Let me tell you,” said Mr. Mori Hosseini, “our legislators are not going to put up with the wasting of state money and resources, and neither will this board.”

Nice little university you’ve got there, Gators. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

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Diane Roberts
Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.

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