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Discourage the UWF Board of Trustees from electing Don Gaetz as university president

This petition had 343 supporters


From September 11-14, 2016, four finalists for the University of West Florida's Presidential Search will step foot onto UWF property for on-campus interviews and open forums. Although there are four candidates, one obviously sticks out

  • Three of the candidates have a Ph. D. - one has a Master's.
  • Three of the candidates have higher education experience - one does not.
  • Three of the candidates have UWF Faculty support - one does not. 
  • Three of the candidates have no lawsuit pending - one does.

This "one" inconsistency is State Sen. Don Gaetz. 

Lawsuit for Medicare fraud: According to the Tampa Bay Times, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the hospice company founded by Don Gaetz for Medicare fraud, including the time Gaetz was vice chairman of the company. Were this pending lawsuit to go to court during Gaetz's potential presidency, this would bring negative publicity to UWF and distract Gaetz from his presidential duties. Read more here.

Lack of a Ph.D.: By looking at the four candidates' CV's on the UWF Presidential Search website (see them by clicking here), it is evident that Don Gaetz is the only candidate lacking a Ph.D. This is of significance because the University of West Florida is a hub for higher education that requires its leader to be knowledgeable and experienced in matters regarding university affairs, including research such as that which a Ph.D. entails. 

Faculty Senate Opposes Gaetz: On September 9, 2016, the UWF Faculty Senate (that represents UWF faculty) voted to oppose the selection of Gaetz as UWF's next president. The Faculty Senate stated in their resolution that "statements made by candidate Don Gaetz in his initial interview, combined with his past political and professional positions and actions, are incompatible with the academic mission and educational initiatives of UWF." Read more here.

"Commercial" Research Only: Furthermore, Gaetz has stated his position on the subject of research as supporting "commercial" research. In his interview with the Presidential Search Committee on August 31, Gaetz said, "if we're going to be doing research, it ought to be applied research." He also stated it should be "applicable to the economy" and "applicable to the solution of real problems" (see the full interview here). One of UWF's most notable breakthroughs this last year was the discovery of the Luna settlement, the site of the first multi-year European settlement in the United States. The discovery brought national renown to Pensacola even though it was the result of a research endeavor that cannot be "commercialized."

Although Don Gaetz waited until the last minute to apply for the presidential position, don't wait until the last minute to sign this petition. 

We, the students of UWF, have an opinion, and this is our way of speaking up. Sign this petition. Get informed. Attend the Presidential Search Interviews' Open Forums.

Let your voice be heard. 

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