Message from President Fuchs - Outside activities by UF employees involving litigation in which the state of Florida is a party


November 23, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

I am writing to share the report from the task force charged with recommending how UF should respond when employees request approval to serve as expert witnesses in litigation in which the state of Florida is a party. Thank you to all members of the task force for their timely work and thoughtful recommendations, which can be found here https://fora.aa.ufl.edu/docs/147/Final%20Report.pdf. Thank you also to those who offered suggestions and perspectives that helped to inform the task force’s work.

I have accepted the task force’s recommendations and am asking the appropriate offices to proceed with implementation, understanding that for some employees collective bargaining agreements may need to be modified before implementation.

Also, UF’s response to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Nov. 2 letter requesting information regarding external influence and academic freedom can be found here https://assets.webadmin.ufl.edu/media/SACSCOC%20Special%20Report.pdf.

Warm regards,
Kent

Kent Fuchs
President
University of Florida

_________________________________________________________
From: University of Florida - Do Not Reply <do-not-reply-crm@ufl.edu>
Sent: Friday, November 5, 2021 12:06 PM
To: President, University of Florida (Kent Fuchs) <president@UFL.EDU>
Subject: Message from President Fuchs - Outside activities by UF employees involving litigation in which the state of Florida is a party

Dear Campus Community,

As shared on Monday, I am forming a task force that will review UF’s practice regarding requests for approval of outside activities involving potential conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment. In particular, the task force will make a recommendation to me on how UF should respond when employees request approval to serve as expert witnesses in litigation in which their employer, the state of Florida, is a party. I’m asking the task force to provide me with a preliminary recommendation by Monday, November 29.

The following have agreed to serve on the task force:

  • Joe Glover - Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Task Force Chair
  • Katie Vogel Anderson - Clinical Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy (former Faculty Senate Chair)
  • Hub Brown - Dean, College of Journalism and Communications
  • Clay Calvert - Professor of Law and Professor of Journalism and Communications, Brechner Eminent Scholar and Director, Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project
  • Terra DuBois - Chief Compliance, Ethics, & Privacy Officer, UF
  • John Kraft - Professor and Susan Cameron Chair of International Business, Warrington College of Business
  • Laura Rosenbury - Dean, Levin College of Law

Without prejudice regarding the task force recommendations, I have also asked UF’s Conflicts of Interest Office to reverse the decisions on recent requests by UF employees to serve as expert witnesses in litigation in which the state of Florida is a party and to approve the requests regardless of personal compensation, assuming the activity is on their own time without using university resources.

I look forward to reporting back on the task force recommendations and my decision on how UF will apply the Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment policy in future requests for approval of similar outside activity.

Warm regards,
Kent

Kent Fuchs
President
University of Florida