University of Florida President Kent Fuchs Announces Final Year at Helm


University of Florida President Kent Fuchs announced in a video that he is planning on stepping down from his current position in 2023. Fuchs desires to return to the classroom and be a professor.

“When I was appointed in 2014, I was asked to make three commitments to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors,” Fuchs said. “First, that I would work to raise the stature of UF to be among the nation’s top 10 public universities. Second, that UF would launch and complete a $3 billion fundraising campaign. Third, that UF would not increase its tuition while I served as president. Those promises were made and those promises were kept.”

Fuchs is stepping down amid scrutiny from the public, elected officials, and professors on campus over grievances of academic freedom.


Last year, three professors desired to testify in a legal challenge to a Florida law, SB 90, related to election integrity and voting. UF prevented the professors from testifying due to a claimed conflict of interest with public employees being involved in a suit against Florida law.

After public outcry, Fuchs reversed the policy, permitting the professors to testify.

“Without prejudice regarding the task force recommendations, I have also asked UF’s Conflicts of Interest Office to reverse the decisions on recent requests by UF employees to serve as expert witnesses in litigation in which the state of Florida is a party and to approve the requests regardless of personal compensation, assuming the activity is on their own time without using university resources,” said the university.

The official reversal of policy was approved in late November with a seven-member task force providing recommendations to the university board of trustees of how to go forward with the professors testifying. Attorneys for the professors maintained there are still constitutional issues with suppressing free speech on campus.

“We are disappointed but not surprised that a task force created as a public relations tool has returned with window-dressing recommendations,” the attorneys wrote. “The proposed changes address only the narrow issue of expert testimony, and even on that limited topic, they fail to cure the constitutional problem with the university’s conflict of interest policy. That policy still allows the university to restrain the faculty’s free speech based on impermissible reasons and at the university’s discretion. We will continue to press the university to make the real change that the Constitution requires.”

Also under Fuchs, the university launched an internal investigation after a faculty senate report was released indicating a culture of fear and political influence encouraging researchers to destroy COVID data.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Kent Fuchs” by The Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. Background Photo “Pugh Hall at the University of Florida” by Spohpatuf. CC BY-SA 3.0.

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