Saturday, September 27, 2014

Florida State's GOP Experiment Another Sign of Coming Florida Brain Drain

Just a few years ago, after the Tea Party took control in Tallahassee, the Koch brothers worked out an agreement with that city's ubiquitous university, (Florida State), to have unprecedented influence over their professors and curriculum.

As a sidenote, the Koch brothers offered 10 to 20 times as much money for a similar arrangement with ivy-league colleges, like Yale, but were turned down for obvious reasons.

Just last week, Florida State (FSU), in a selection process that was nothing short of a sham, picked Koch-promoted, creationist, global-warming denier, and ALEC's "Legislator of the Year" JOHN THRASHER to be the new president of FSU:

The FSU community has been staunchly opposing Thrasher's candidacy for president because he is, by almost all standards normally applied to university presidents, a terrible candidate for the job.

Whereas university presidents are almost always required to have a Ph.D., Thrasher lacks real academic credentials. As a legislator, Thrasher has opposed institutions that are essential to higher education like faculty unions and tenure, was caught violating ethics laws twice in the Florida House of Representatives, has voted several times to cut Florida’s higher-education budget, and he himself sponsored a failed bill that would have made exactly this kind of legislature-to-university transition illegal for him to make. Thrasher also is currently serving as chair for the reelection campaign of Florida Gov. Rick Scott - who appointed FSU Board of Trustees Chair Allan Bense (and others), who in turn has handpicked much of the search committee's members.

Congratulations, FSU. I guess you've given up any hope of ever becoming a top tier, prestigious university.

In case some of you within this state are unaware, Florida has a reputation. An INTERNATIONAL reputation. (And you can't blame me, I just document). Sure, we all laugh when Seth Meyers does his game show Fake or Florida?, or we get mocked on SNL or Late Night. Sure, we all roll our eyes when our politicians say or do stupid things, or get angry when they pass dangerous and stupid legislation.

However, who do you think is paying attention? A research chemist told me that she is leaving to publish somewhere else because European colleagues think there really is something wrong with the people down here.

You know, there's a reason that scientists, engineers, and people in other technology-related fields flock to progressive areas such as New England or California. No one thinks "If I'm gonna make it, it's got to be in Florida!" Yes, that's laughable. For a reason. You can't hold intellectuals in disdain and then expect them to want to be here. You can't claim to love STEM, but then mock actual scientists (as GOP politicians here have done repeatedly regarding the environment and climate change--even though Florida is the most vulnerable on the planet with all that expensive real estate on the coastline.)

Florida already ranks at the bottom with Alabama and Mississippi for education spending, but it's not just our crappy schools. We have the lowest paying jobs, no consumer protection, and our public services (parks, libraries, transportation) have been eviscerated by Rick Scott. This is to say nothing of doing things that people in other states take for granted, like visiting a movie theater without getting shot.

Meanwhile, professors and scientists who actually care about their reputations will go to a state that doesn't make international headlines every month with another round of stupid and whose government does not hold them in contempt. It's not like it would be hard to find a better functioning and more respectable government anyway.

As for me, like many of you, I am stuck here for a myriad of reasons. I have no clue how Thrasher is going to fuck up FSU, or which school the Kochs will go after next, or what the legislature has in store for us in this conservative wetdream hellscape that is Florida. I'm sure it will all pale in comparison to whatever the felon who currently runs our governor's office will do once he has unchecked power with no re-election effort to worry about after the next election.

Pray for us all.

1 comment :

  1. It's like I told one of the Scott flock complaining about high tuition: You get what you pay for. The way these guys are at it, the most prestigious academic school in Florida is going to be Ringling Clown College.

    And unrelatedly, I just got off Crist's Facebook page where he answered a few questions. Last time he did this, the RPOF showed and started trolling. I, and a few others, gave the RPOF smackdowns.

    They didn't show to troll this time!