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    Home / College Guide / Florida State faculty union says school unfair on post-tenure reviews
     Posted on Monday, April 01 @ 00:00:04 PDT
    College

    Tarah Jean [Florida State University’s](/story/news/local/fsu-news/2024/03/22/kathleen-amm-is-new-director-of-tallahassees-national-maglab/73052711007/) [faculty union](/story/news/local/fsu-news/2024/02/01/fsu-faculty-union-says-it-has-enough-members-to-remain-certified/72420796007/) last year filed a charge with the state against the FSU [Board of Trustees](/story/sports/college/fsu/2024/01/24/fsu-athletics-request-loan-from-university/72323510007/) for ‘unfair labor practices’ related to [post-tenure faculty review](/story/news/politics/2023/01/31/desantis-targets-florida-college-university-diversity-programs-tenure/69858501007/). So far, things are working in the unions favor. As a result of the September 2023 complaint, a Florida Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) hearing officer recently sent the panel a recommendation in support of the faculty union’s concerns — acknowledging that FSU committed unfair practices and recommending that the university be required to reimburse the union for legal expenses. The faculty union has been negotiating with the Board of Trustees’ representatives about how a new [post-tenure review](/story/news/2023/09/09/florida-board-of-governors-ok-tenure-overhaul-faculty-sound-alarm-survey/70799499007/) regulation is being put into practice.

    A measure signed into law by Gov. [Ron DeSantis](/story/news/politics/2024/03/25/florida-gov-desantis-signs-bill-social-media-restrictions-for-kids-age-verification-porn-sites/73089957007/) requires tenured faculty in Florida’s public universities to go through a comprehensive post-tenure review process every five years. In June, the university started following a new regulation after being required to do so by the [Florida Board of Governors](/story/news/politics/2024/01/24/sociology-woke-ideology-no-longer-a-general-education-course-florida-university/72310090007/), which adopted the rule itself a few months prior in compliance with the new state law. But the university began doing post-tenure reviews before collective bargaining discussions were completed with the faculty union, according to FSU’s United Faculty of Florida President [Matthew Lata](/story/opinion/2023/01/18/dont-mess-with-state-university-success-opinion/69812760007/). “The hearing officer plainly concluded that ‘the FSU-BOT committed an unfair labor practice by making unilateral changes to a mandatory subject of bargaining,’ ” UFF-FSU said in a March 21 release. “The hearing officer further stated that ‘this is a per se refusal to bargain, and the FSU-BOT should have known not to proceed as it did.

    ’ ” The recommendation came after a hearing in December. The next step is for the full commission — which adopts and enforces regulations related to bargaining units — to consider the recommended actions for approval by voting on it. Both the universitys Board of Trustees and the faculty union are allowed to file exceptions before the vote. Before the university started following the post-tenure review regulation in June, a draft of it was advertised for 30 days for public comment. But the faculty union didnt respond despite being notified, the university said. “The UFF-FSU chapter did not request a consultation on the proposed regulation, submit public comments about the proposed regulation, nor did they give public comments during the FSU-BOT meeting on June 15 that included a Request for Approval of the regulation on the agenda,” FSU spokesperson Amy Farnum-Patronis said. After the regulation was OKd, the university sought to create a policy that would detail how the university regulation would be put into practice. “The UFF-FSU initially declined the university’s invitation to negotiate policy details in bargaining sessions,” Farnum-Patronis said. “The union has since come to the bargaining table several times to collaboratively negotiate this policy with the university, and we will continue to bargain as needed.

    ” FSU faculty union unhappy about new rule Colleges and universities in [Floridas State University System](/story/opinion/2024/01/31/brian-lamb-keeping-floridas-state-university-system-at-the-top/72398929007/) are required to complete the post-tenure review process in time for audit reports to be submitted to their boards of trustees by July 1. Lata says when FSU started implementing the post-tenure review process — with many tenured faculty having already been contacted and notified that they must comply — the faculty union members “were not happy.” “We feel that ultimately, the goal of the people over at the Capitol who sponsored the bill is to get rid of tenure altogether,” Lata, also an FSU music professor, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Thats what they want, but we want to draw a line in the sand right here.” The faculty union’s release highlights the hearing officer’s additional recommendation for FSU’s Board of Trustees to “cease and desist from making unilateral changes to mandatory subjects of bargaining (like post-tenure review) without first either engaging in collective bargaining or obtaining a clear waiver of bargaining.” The members hope that tenure continues to ensure that faculty can explore a variety of ideas and issues in their fields without being interfered [by politics](/story/news/politics/2023/12/04/authoritarianism-american-florida-politics-campaigns-book-banning-schools/71802716007/).

    “Faculty are already evaluated every year by their colleagues, chairs and deans on criteria specific to their field,” the union said in the release. “The post-tenure review implemented by the Board of Trustees reduces that review to the possibly arbitrary opinion of a single chair or dean.” “Faculty should not be fired — or fear being fired — for holding opinions contrary to those in political power.” As the recommendations stand in favor of the FSU faculty union, the members wait for the further outcomes of their filed charge while they also gear up for regular bargaining, which opens in a couple of weeks. “We think this is a big win for the union, and we hope that the administration and the union can come together in agreement on this topic,” Lata said. Contact Tarah Jean at [tjean@tallahassee.com](mailto:tjean@tallahassee.com) or follow her on X: @tarahjean_ .

     
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