UCF has now removed statements about expressing the need for anti-racism after Bill HB7 took effect on July 1.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed what he calls the “Stop WOKE Act” which will limit teachings of race and critical race theory that would make students feel like they are carrying personal guilt and accountability for the mistreatment of particular groups of individuals on the basis of their race, color or sex.
Shelley Park, a philosophy professor at UCF, said she was disappointed the postings were removed from the department’s website because Park believed the statement “stands behind diversity, equity, and inclusivity.” – which wasn’t such a drastic thing to say.
Assistant Vice President Chad Binette said the removal of the statements was because the statements were seen as creating a potentially unwelcoming environment for all faculty and students at the University.
“The university recently removed certain departmental statements that could be considered potentially inconsistent with our commitment to creating a welcoming environment – an environment where faculty objectively engage students in solid, scholarly discussions that expand their knowledge and enable them to freely express their views and form their own perspectives,” said Binette. “UCF is committed to building a culture that values respect, civil discourse and creating a sense of belonging.” Binette said, “In an effort to more clearly communicate this commitment, we will work with departments to ensure that statements better align with our university’s values.”
Ann Gleig, a professor of religious studies at UCF, said the removal of the statement was unfair after the philosophy department authored the post after the police killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.
“It’s a complete violation of academic freedom,” Gleig said. “The statement was developed over a period of time with dialogue and input from about 20 people plus faculty trained in philosophy, religion and cultural studies and the humanities.”