“The bill also limits tenure protections for faculty members. Tenure is a lifetime academic appointment granted to professors who meet designated requirements and can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances. Under the law, there must be a post-tenure review of state university faculty every five years to assess accomplishments and productivity, teaching duties, student evaluations, compensation, and potential improvement plans. Faculty members do not have the right to appeal grievances beyond the university president.
University presidents are now responsible for hiring, disciplining, and firing the school provost, deans, and full-time faculty. The law specifically instructs presidents to not be bound by the recommendations or opinions of faculty members when making hiring decisions. As part of their expanded role, presidents must also present yearly performance evaluations and salaries of any personnel earning more than $200,000 to the board of trustees.
Together, the law strengthens the powers of university leaders and weakens the autonomy of faculty members. The bill threatens academic freedom, according to AAUP, since it limits the teaching of certain topics in the general education curriculum and halts funding for DEI measures, among other limitations. Faculty told the AAUP that the laws are “Orwellian” and that Florida is a “canary in a coal mine.””