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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

UF President Fuchs announces resignation

Fuchs plans to transition from president to professor

<p>UF President Kent Fuchs addresses the Board of Trustees in 2020. He announced he would step down from his role at the beginning of the Spring semester. </p>

UF President Kent Fuchs addresses the Board of Trustees in 2020. He announced he would step down from his role at the beginning of the Spring semester.

UF President Kent Fuchs will be stepping down from his position to transition into a professor role. 

UF released the announcement for Fuchs’ resignation in a campus-wide email and video message Wednesday morning. Fuchs, 67, will carry out his presidential duties for the remainder of the year and step down around the beginning of 2023 once a new president is appointed. 

Under Fuchs eight-year term as UF president, the university became a top five public university in the nation and was embroiled in an academic freedom scandal.

According to the announcement, Fuchs decided to resign in August and told UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini. The two waited to release the news until the beginning of Spring semester. 

Fuchs plans to take a sabbatical, according to the announcement, before returning to a professor position in the department of electrical and computer engineering. The Board of Trustees plans to initiate a national search for a new presidential appointment.

This announcement comes after months of UF administration being under fire for the decision to bar multiple professors from testifying in court cases against the state. 

Three political science professors sparked the controversy followed by five more professors who came forward all saying UF limited their academic freedom and infringed on their First Amendment rights. 

UF released a statement Oct. 30 stating that the university promotes free speech and its faculty’s academic freedom and they were denied because they were going to be paid to partake in work outside of the universities interests. 

Four days later, five more professors stepped forward claiming they too were silenced by the university. One of the professors, Jeffrey Goldhagen, said he intended to provide unpaid testimony, but UF still denied his request. 

The university received scorn from members of the U.S. Congress, as well as from the general public. Its accreditor opened an investigation into the matter and the six professors who were barred from testifying sued the university

To address the escalating situation, Fuchs and Provost Joe Glover appointed a task force Nov. 1 to review the university’s conflict of interest policy. Four weeks later, Fuchs accepted the task force’s recommendation to update their conflict-of-interest policies.

Fuchs announced that he asked the university to reverse its decision to bar professors from testifying on Nov. 5. That same day UF granted the professors the ability to testify in the lawsuits. 

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Another investigation was announced on Dec. 10 addressing claims reporting the destruction of COVID-19 research data. 

Although Fuchs received backlash for these developing events, many other positive outcomes came during his presidency.

In 2017, UF reached its long-term goal of entering the nation’s top 10 public universities. On Sept. 12, UF’s rankings reached new heights as the U.S. News and World Report announced UF’s No. 5 public school ranking. 

Additionally, research spending, donor contributions and student applications have steadily climbed during Fuchs’ term, according to the announcement. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Elena Barrera at ebarrera@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @elenabarreraaa.

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Elena Barrera

Elena is a second-year journalism major with a minor in health sciences. She is currently the University Administration reporter for The Alligator. When she is not writing, Elena loves to work out, go to the beach and spend time with her friends and family.


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