Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Rick Scott's administration backtracks on talk by FSU professor Diane Roberts

TALLAHASSEE — Amid a growing online controversy, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's administration reversed itself Wednesday and will invite a scholar to deliver a talk, days after cancelling it without explanation.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner apologized to Florida State University professor Diane Roberts and issued a statement that she can speak "on the topic of her choosing." Detzner also said he wants to find out "if everything was handled appropriately" after learning that an agency employee resigned in protest over the incident.

Roberts, an author and commentator who also writes opinion articles for the Tampa Bay Times, is a frequent critic of Scott's policies. She had been invited to speak today at the state-run Mission San Luis on a favorite topic, the deterioration of Florida's lakes, rivers and springs.

But last week a spokeswoman for Detzner, Brittany Lesser, said that an "internal decision" was made to cancel Roberts' talk because it did not directly relate to Mission San Luis' emphasis on historical resources.

Roberts said she was amused by the controversy but appreciated Detzner's call Wednesday.

"He was as nice as he could be. He also told me about 400 times how much he values water," Roberts said.

Jessica Kindrick, who has worked at the mission since last June, resigned Tuesday to protest the state's decision to silence Roberts.

"Academic integrity is extremely important to any cultural heritage institution," she said. "I'm tired of these institutions being stifled because people run them on a business model."

Kindrick, 24, is a graduate student at FSU completing a master's degree in museum and cultural heritage studies. She said she planned to resign her $11-an-hour job by the end of the summer to accept a teaching position in her home state of Texas.

Kindrick said mission director Robert Blount III suggested she quit if she didn't like the way the agency was run, and that he asked her if she had a "death wish."

Kindrick had posted anonymous comments on reddit.com under the headline: "Rick Scott's cronies politically censor Tallahassee, FL museum lecture."

Detzner's office did not respond to written requests by the Times/Herald to respond to Kindrick's version of events or to interview Blount.

Gov. Rick Scott's administration backtracks on talk by FSU professor Diane Roberts 04/02/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.