The Point, Feb. 8, 2022: Exploring UF’s contentious history of open discourse on campus


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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Recent UF academic freedom infringements follow trend of collusion against faculty, professors say. “The University of Florida prides itself on ascending to a top-five public university but in recent months, allegations of politically motivated infringements on academic freedom have ignited controversy and made their way to courts and Congress. Open discourse has a checkered history on campus.”

• WUFT News: Columbia basketball coach Steve Faulkner travels a long road to a school record. “Last week, Faulkner reached another milestone when his team beat Forest High School of Ocala in dominant fashion. In his eighth year of coaching at Columbia, it was his 138th win, and the most of any coach in school history.”

• The Alligator: Two new candidates join the race for Gainesville mayor. “There are now four candidates running for the position of Gainesville mayor in the Aug. 23 election. This election will be the first in 12 years without an incumbent mayor running, with Ed Bielarski, City Commissioner Harvey Ward, City Commissioner David Arreola and Gainesville resident Donald Shepherd on the ballot.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): ‘It’s for the kids’: Expansion for Oak View Middle School breaks ground. “Oak View Middle School, 1203 SW 250th St., will be welcoming a new building on its campus in fall. The building is set for completion Nov. 28.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala’s Brittany Bowe places 10th in 1,500-meter speedskating event at Beijing Olympics. “Brittany Bowe and her fellow Ocalans, Erin Jackson and Joey Mantia, are stars on the U.S. Olympic speedskating team and a feel-good story for these games.”

• The Villages Daily Sun ($): Florida Attorney General honors local officers. “(Ashley) Moody visited the Lake County Sheriff’s Office substation in The Villages to recognize the efforts of some local sheriff’s deputies, police officers and their canine counterparts.” 

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Around the state

• WUFT News: 15-week abortion ban advances in Florida House despite fervent opposition. “The Florida bill (HB 5) would prohibit clinics from offering abortion procedures after 15 weeks of a pregnancy, instead of up to 24 weeks as allowed by the landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.”

• The Alligator: ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills will silence discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity in classrooms. “As the Florida legislature pushes bills that would ban discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, Gainesville students and teachers push back.”

• NPR News: 15 boxes of White House records have been recovered at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. “The documents retrieved from the Florida property contained important records of communication along with Trump’s self-described “love letters” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as a letter addressed to Trump from his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida appeals to keep COVID-19 data under wraps. “The underlying lawsuit alleges the Department of Health violated public-records laws by turning down requests for daily COVID-19 data. The data, in part, would have provided county and demographic information about COVID-19 cases.”

• USA Today Network ($): With their state lead lost, Florida Democrats push voter registration drive. “After losing their historic lead over Republicans among Florida registered voters, state Democrats Monday announced a $2.5 million effort to add more voters to the rolls before this fall’s elections.”

• CBS News: GOP plans to create election police force in Florida, raising alarms among voting rights advocates. “As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and fellow Republicans propose the creation of a special police force to investigate election fraud, voting rights advocates are worried that the new unit could target minorities and confuse voters.”

• WFSU: Frustrations are mounting as major reforms to Baker Act and other involuntary commitment laws remain elusive. “For years, some lawmakers have been pushing major re-writes of the Baker and Marchman Acts—two key pieces of law that enable people to be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation. The latest effort is again in trouble.”

• Associated Press: Frontier bids $2.9 billion for rival budget airline Spirit. “Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines are proposing to combine in a $2.9 billion deal that would create a larger discount airline to compete against the nation’s dominant carriers and, they say, promote lower fares.” 

• Florida Politics: Bill requiring transferable tickets passes first Senate committee. “Legislators from both parties who supported the bill voiced concerns it could lead to price spikes in resale tickets.”

From NPR News

• National: Jury selection begins in hate crimes trial of men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery

• National: Corporate climate pledges are weaker than they seem, a new study reports

• World: Australia will reopen to fully vaccinated travelers in 2 weeks

• World: Ottawa declares a state of emergency over truckers’ growing anti-government protests

• Politics: Supreme Court lets Alabama use GOP-backed map of the state’s congressional districts

• Business: IRS has second thoughts about selfie requirement

• Health: Why remdesivir, a highly effective treatment, is a last resort for providers

• Science: A brain circuit tied to emotion may lead to better treatments for Parkinson’s disease

About today’s curator

I’m Melissa Feito, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from Miami, I got my start in public radio covering religion stories like the spiritual roots of Afro-Brazilian music and modern communities of pagans. I’m a graduate student getting my master’s degree in mass communication and am part of a team searching for local and state news each week that’s important to you. Please send feedback about today’s edition of The Point or ideas for stories we may have missed to

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news

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