Last week, President Machen sent you a message announcing the formation of the President's Council on Diversity and enunciating a number of goals with respect to diversity to which he said his administration is committed. He goes on to express his belief "that a great university is a diverse university with world-balance."
It is troubling to hear the President take pride in forming a Council on Diversity when only months ago a disproportionately high percentage of the faculty he proposed to lay off (nearly 60%) were women, minorities, or foreign-born. Moreover, of the faculty whose layoff notices were subsequently rescinded, 86% were white males and only 14% were "diversity" faculty. The seven colleagues who are still scheduled to lose their jobs at the end of this semester are all foreign-born; six of them are women and six are minorities. The question is unavoidable: Is President Machen really committed to the goals he claims to espouse or is he engaging in a public relations exercise?
The United Faculty of Florida is continuing its efforts to save our colleagues' jobs, using every legitimate means at its disposal. You will be hearing more soon about some of the actions we are taking. If you are as disturbed about these -- unnecessary -- lay-offs as we are, we would welcome your active participation. Please feel free to contact me or any of the Union's officers listed on our web site.
John Biro, President
United Faculty of Florida
238 Norman Hall, PO Box 117055