Faculty Committee Says U of Florida Fast-Tracked DeSantis Pick

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A faculty committee at the University of Florida found that the institution violated its own hiring protocols when it offered a tenured job to Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Ladapo, who was appointed surgeon general last year by Republican governor Ron DeSantis, is controversial in medical circles for his views on topics such as the COVID-19 vaccine, but the university’s faculty committee cited procedural irregularities in how Ladapo gained a tenured position. Namely, the committee said that faculty reviewers were insufficiently involved in the process. The seven-professor panel also said that Ladapo’s appointment was accelerated to accommodate his appointment to surgeon general, which the state and the university have said involves an 80-20 percent split between running Florida’s Department of Health and being a professor, respectively. The committee’s report comes amid larger faculty concerns about academic freedom and political interference at the university. Hessy Fernandez, university spokesperson, told the Times that “the hiring process followed in Dr. Ladapo’s case is consistent with the hiring process used in other cases in the [College of Medicine], and the tenure process followed is consistent with the tenure process followed in all of UF’s colleges.”

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