Florida universities are No. 1. But readers didn’t like this column | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.
University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the Yuengling Center in Tampa for the fall commencement ceremony in 2016.
University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the Yuengling Center in Tampa for the fall commencement ceremony in 2016. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times (2016) ]
Published May 19

Ministry of Right-Speak

Florida is No. 1 in higher ed for a reason | May 17

Brian Lamb wrote a wonderful puff-piece about the success of higher education in Florida. I’m sure the state Ministry of Right-Speak is pleased with this one-sided, pro-Gov. Ron DeSantis hype, but going forward I have serious doubts that success will continue. Affording the current administration full credit for past success while not mentioning the state-created chaos our governor has authored in higher education is the surest way to a greater success in Lamb’s future.

Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg

But for how long?

Florida is No. 1 in higher ed for a reason | May 17

The column by Brian Lamb on Florida’s universities was very interesting. Former University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft was primarily responsible for elevating USF to where it is today. My son went to USF for his undergraduate degree and then to Harvard for a doctorate in microbiology. He said his biology classes at USF compared favorably with Harvard’s. With the changes our governor is making, including appointing politicians rather than academics to serve as college presidents, our universities will suffer. Already many instructors are leaving. If I had a school-age child, I would be thinking about leaving Florida as well.

Ann Jamieson, St Petersburg

Disaster in the making

Florida is No. 1 in higher ed for a reason | May 17

Brian Lamb’s ode to Florida’s higher education is political — timed to mollify righteous fury at the destruction our governor is visiting upon that system. Everything Lamb describes existed before Gov. Ron DeSantis (and Lamb) even arrived on the scene. Neither gets credit for the long-standing existence of a “robust talent pipeline,” “longtime leadership in online education,” “19,000 (brilliant) faculty” or any institution-research-business nexus existing for decades. All Florida’s governor needs do is not screw things up, but DeSantis is the sullen adolescent in the store who just has to touch everything to annoy his mommy. He’s precipitated an education disaster — it is upon us. Student walkouts, academics’ exodus, banning books, ideologically attacking and destroying New College’s reputation, attacking tenure (except for hireling state Surgeon General Joe Ladapo’s), racist and bigoted attacks on curriculum and the “educational value of Black history,” subverting and intimidating faculty and libraries at all levels, attacking their unions and free speech and students’ too. Lamb’s “take” is like the dog in the famous meme surrounded by fire and smoke blandly insisting “everything’s fine.”

When Lamb was elected to the chair of the Board of Governors in November 2021, he was “global head of diversity and inclusion at J.P. Morgan Chase.” That’s everything DeSantis scorns and despises. Wrap your heads around that.

Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg

No. 1. Really?

Florida is No. 1 in higher ed for a reason | May 17

Brian Lamb’s column was very enlightening. I wish Gov. Ron DeSantis had this information before he started dismantling our success, including his foolish attacks on university faculty and tenure, his student surveys to be sure students are not being “indoctrinated,” his censure of parts of America’s history, and his desire to turn the successful New College in Sarasota into a Christian college. We are going to see fewer out-of-state students want to attend college in Florida, and it will be difficult to recruit qualified faculty under these conditions. Lamb will be writing another article in a few years titled, “Why Florida no longer has a highly recognized university system.”

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Gregory Stout, Seminole

Rein in AI risks

Tech boss: Rein in AI risks | May 17

Long before reading the headline article in Wednesday’s edition of the Times, I have thought that every single person who works in the artificial intelligence industry should be forced to sit and watch the movie “Terminator” until their eyes bleed. The genie already has one hand out of the bottle, and I guarantee the genie won’t be a fun-loving “Aladdin” type. To paraphrase Jon Stewart: The world will not end from nuclear war. It will end with the words of some techie or scientist saying, “SOB, it worked!”

AI is the greatest danger to humans our species has ever seen. And sci-fi books and movies have been showing us these dangers long before you could even buy a personal calculator. Maybe when the computers start identifying as nonbinary (get it?) then our governor will take notice to the real threat AI poses to not just our way of life, but our our actual existence.

Glen Getchell, Seminole