State Watch

University of Florida professor says he was blocked from testifying about coronavirus measures

A fourth University of Florida professor claims the school rejected his request to testify against state leaders and provide his expertise on the impact of COVID-19 on children even though he said he would not have been compensated for the testimony.

Jeffrey L. Goldhagen, a University of Florida professor and pediatrician, was asked to testify against Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida commissioner of education, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Education for a case in which Florida parents and children sought to overturn the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

After Goldhagen submitted conflict-of-interest disclosures to the university, his requests to testify were denied. Goldhagen added that he was asked to be a declarant in two other lawsuits, which he did anyway. But for the third case, he told Charles Gallagher, the attorney representing the Florida parents and children, to subpoena his testimony after his rejection from the university, the Chronicle reported.

Gallagher said there was no time to waste as his team prepared for the trial and did not subpoena Goldhagen, but he did confirm that Goldhagen would not have been paid for his testimony, the Chronicle noted. 

Last week, the University of Florida barred three professors from testifying in a federal lawsuit against the state regarding a recent elections overhaul bill.

University of Florida spokeswoman Hessy Fernandez previously told The Hill that the university has “a long track record of supporting free speech and our faculty’s academic freedom.”

“It is important to note that the university did not deny the First Amendment rights or academic freedom,” Fernandez added. “Rather, the university denied requests of these full-time employees to undertake outside paid work that is adverse to the university’s interests as a state of Florida institution.”

On Monday, the university softened their stance on the issue. University of Florida President Kent Fuchs along with Provost and Senior Academic Affairs VP Joe Glover issued a statement saying “if the professors wish to testify pro bono on their own time without using university resources, they are free to do so.”

The Hill has reached out to Goldhagen and to the University of Florida for comment. 

Tags banning mask mandates Florida Ron DeSantis University of Florida

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

See all Hill.TV See all Video

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

Main area bottom

Top Stories

See All

Most Popular

Load more