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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Alumnus starts petition against Gov. Rick Scott signing diplomas

One UF alumnus was so disturbed by Gov. Rick Scott's ideas about education, he started a petition to get the governor's signatures off university diplomas.

Eric Sanders, 42, received his Bachelor of Arts from UF in 1997.

He said he's long been disgusted with Scott's attacks on Florida's public education system.

His negative statements last month about liberal arts degrees were what sent Sanders over the edge, and he decided to take action.

Sanders, who lives and works in Gainesville, said having a liberal arts degree has not held him back in any way, and he finds it insulting that the governor would insinuate that it has.

"For him to belittle a particular major because he doesn't feel it's worthy is absurd," Sanders said. "It's ridiculous."

To see how other people felt about it, on Nov. 8, Sanders started a petition on to refuse Scott's signature on Florida university diplomas.

"We the undersigned," the website reads, "petition the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, from signing Florida university diplomas because of the governor's repeated assaults on the Florida education system."

The petition website was created by Civic Action, an organization focused on education and advocacy on national issues.

SignOn allows individuals to set up online petitions and keep in contact with signers of their petitions.

As of Sunday, more than 300 people had put their names on Sanders' petition.

Some added their own comments.

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"Rick Scott is a disgrace to Florida," wrote Teresa Hans, of West Palm Beach.

"His continued attacks on education leave such a poor taste in the mouths of Floridians. His name doesn't deserve to be on the degree I earned from years of hard work."

Esteban O'Sullivan, 23, will graduate from UF in May with a journalism degree.

O'Sullivan said he signed the petition after a friend shared the link on Facebook.

"It really caught my eye, because I've always seen Rick Scott as an opponent to education, and here he is with his name on our degrees," O'Sullivan said.

Sanders doesn't think the petition will actually keep Scott's signature off any diplomas but he said it's a good way for people to speak out and to raise awareness about the governor's policies.

"I think this had really sparked a nerve," he said.

"People with higher education don't respect him."

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