Is Gov. Scott At War With Academia? (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, November 14, 2011

Laying the groundwork to revamp higher education in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has questioned the value of liberal arts degrees, dissed anthropologists, proposed ending tenure for professors and posted salaries of all state university employees on the Internet.

Scott also recently sent a letter to state university trustee boards pushing for change on campuses. He included excerpts from a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, "Time to Make Professors Teach." Vedder derided much academic research as "obscure" and "trivial," noting there have been 21,000 scholarly articles on Shakespeare since 1980.

"Wouldn't 5,000 have been enough?" Vedder wrote.

Among those who received Scott's letter: Ayden Pierce Maher, a senior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton who serves as the student representative to the school's trustee board. Maher called the governor "misguided."

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