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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: University of Florida Faculty Report a Culture of Fear, Lack of Academic Freedom

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After University of Florida administrators banned professors from testifying in a lawsuit against the state, researchers are now alleging their data on the coronavirus pandemic has been suppressed.

A committee was convened to investigate the ban. While interviewing faculty about the general feeling of academic freedom on the campus, they found that several researchers felt pressure to destroy COVID-19 data. Once research was completed, they said, there were hurdles placed in the way of publishing.

The committee’s report paints a picture of a culture of fear among UF faculty, who felt their jobs were at stake for expressing unpopular opinions or going against the DeSantis administration’s narrative.

The report added, “More problematic than the individual examples of pressure to stifle unpopular viewpoints or restrict research was the palpable reticence and even fear on the part of faculty to speak up. … There was grave concern about retaliation and a sense that anyone who objected to the state of affairs might lose his or her job or be punished in some way.”

This report comes after months of questions about the way Florida has handled its COVID-19 data. Concern was first raised when whistleblower Rebekah Jones went public with allegations that the state was hiding its true numbers.

More at OrlandoWeekly.com.

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