The MLA’s professional standards on academic freedom and shared governance, including the MLA Statement on Academic Freedom (2014), Tool Kit on Academic Freedom, and Tool Kit on Shared Governance, are clear. The political machinations in Florida that have resulted in what dismissed New College of Florida president Patricia Okker referred to as a “hostile takeover” are in violation of every standard of shared governance, including those of the MLA and the AAUP. In addition, the Florida House of Representatives has put out a call for the names of faculty members and courses that support the universities’ diversity initiatives, and students in Florida now have the right to record instructor speech without the consent of the instructor. These encroachments are related to the work of the humanities in promoting liberal learning, critical thinking, and especially critical thinking about race. We urge you to use the standards and guidelines of the profession to shore up shared governance on your campus and to ensure that faculty members and administrators work together to maintain academic freedom and build equitable practices on your campus and across higher education.
Update (16 February): The MLA and other members of the American Council of Learned Societies have signed a joint statement in support of academic freedom and the New College of Florida. Read the statement and find out how to sign on as an individual supporter.