Throughout the fall semester, universities nationwide have struggled to meet the needs of their students while working to protect the health and wellbeing of their communities. Many faculty and staff in higher education throughout the country have expressed their frustrations through open letters and protests.
Graduate student employees have also expressed frustration. At the University of Michigan, graduate employees went on strike in September; however, because it is illegal for public employees to strike in Michigan, the graduate employee union members voted to end their strike in the face of a possible injunction that could have resulted in those striking being held in contempt of court and paying civil damages.
Similarly, it is essential to note that the state of Florida maintains a “no-strike” rule for its public employees, accompanied by swift and severe penalties authorized under Florida law for those who strike. Concerted efforts, including “sick-out” protests, can be considered a form of misconduct or strike even when not organized by a union.
Ongoing guidance and support
The guidance the university receives from our experts here at UF Health will continue to be reinforced by robust classroom support provided by UFIT and the Center for Excellence in Teaching. This support is outlined and continuously updated on UF e-Learning’s “Preparing for Spring” website. Please also keep in mind the following resources designed to support you throughout the spring semester:
- Conversations with Mike Lauzardo (additional sessions in early January)
- Guidelines for Faculty in the Classroom
- Guidance on Taking Leave
- Requesting N95 Masks
- Ordering Sanitizing and Protective Equipment
- UF GatorSafe App (for reporting policy violations)
- Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Form
As always, be sure to refer to UF’s and UF Health’s COVID-19 websites for the latest updates and information: