[fla-left] [FL racism] Speakers tell of racism around UF campus (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Mon Oct 23 21:21:39 MDT 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> [Moderator's Note: I would be surprised if this situation were any
> better at any of Florida's other state universities.]
> Thursday, October 19, 2000
> Speakers tell of racism around UF campus
> By CARRIE MILLER Sun staff writer
> Problems with racism at the University of Florida go beyond the law
> school, affecting students, faculty and staff campuswide, according
> to speakers at a Wednesday night town hall meeting called by two
> black state legislators.
> The meeting began with remarks from professor Kenneth Nunn, who told
> the crowd he recently resigned his position as associate law school
> dean not to protest the lack of diversity in the college, but
> because a small group of faculty members is actively blocking all
> efforts to boost minority numbers.
> "They've used every trick in the book," Nunn said, without naming
> names, including calling around to potential minority candidates'
> schools trying to dig up dirt on them.
> Speakers addressed a panel that included state Sen. Kendrick Meek,
> D-Miami, Rep. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, House candidate Ed Jennings
> Jr. of Gainesville, interim law school Dean Jon Mills, local NAACP
> President Ruth Brown and Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, who is the
> chairwoman-elect of the Florida Conference of Black State
> Legislators.
> Among the speakers was Norma Charles, director of the Association of
> Black Faculty and Staff.
> Charles urged UF's leaders to review whether the tenure and
> promotions process is fair to everyone.
> She warned that plenty of people are lining up behind Nunn.
> "It's not just about recruiting us," Charles said, "I'm more
> concerned about retaining us. There are people looking for jobs
> every day for a number of reasons, she said.
> Including professor Jean Andino.
> She told the panel she is the first and only black female professor
> hired in the College of Engineering.
> She's looking for a job.
> "The problem at the College of Law isn't just a problem at the
> College of Law," Andino said.
> Even when UF does recruit and hire black faculty, she said, they
> often leave because the climate is inhospitable or because they get
> so loaded down with assignments to committees eager to have minority
> representation that they can't focus on their own research and
> teaching. In her first year and a half on campus, Andino said, she
> was assigned to six faculty search committees, and asked to join the
> time-consuming curriculum, awards and admissions committees.
> "I know my story is not the only story that's like that," she said.
> "I think sometimes black faculty members are put out as trophies for
> the University of Florida. My face is well-known on campus, not
> because of the progress I've made in my field, but because I'm on
> every single publication the University of Florida puts out."
> Director of Admissions for the law school Chondrea Williams said
> she's worried that the college's respectable percentages of minority
> students will decline sharply because of One Florida, Gov. Jeb
> Bush's program that eliminates race-based preferences in admissions
> decisions.
> "I do not believe we will not look like Washington, California and
> Texas," she said, referring to other states where eliminating
> race-based preferences caused a plummet in minority admissions to
> graduate and professional school programs.
> Williams, who spends a good deal of time recruiting minority
> students for UF, urged the law school to develop entrance criteria
> that encourage diversity and to look beyond test scores. Then she
> threatened to quit if the law school becomes inhospitable to
> minority students.
> "I cannot rightly bring African-American students to a school I
> don't believe in," she said. "Please let me stay."
> Although Nunn was sharply critical of some of his colleagues in the
> law school, he had only praise for Mills, the interim law dean who
> named him associate dean and "has had a far more rocky road than he
> would have had otherwise."
> Mills, who briefly addressed the crowd of about 75 at Mount Carmel
> Baptist Church, acknowledged that the law school has problems. In
> the month or so since Nunn resigned as dean, Mills has developed a
> multi-point agenda for recruiting, hiring and retaining minority
> faculty that includes hiring a consultant who specializes in race
> relations and dispute resolution.
> "I'm not going to dispute anything that's been said here," Mills
> said in an interview. "My hope is that we can move forward to
> action."
> UF President Charles Young and Provost David Colburn will meet with
> the Association for Black Faculty and Staff Wednesday at 4 p.m., and
> Charles urged everyone to come and voice their concerns.
> "This can't always be about Kenneth Nunn," Charles said. "You have
> to take the next step and speak up."
> Carrie Miller can be reached at 338-3103 or millerc at gvillesun.com.

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