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Florida Polytechnic unjustly separated with employees, says new ruling

Florida Polytechnic University must rehire three employees with back pay according to order.

A state commission determined Wednesday Florida Polytechnic University administrators acted unjustly when they laid off employees due to anti-union bias.

Three members of The United Faculty of Florida union who lost their jobs had been vocal about university problems or participated in collective bargaining, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

In a ruling by the Public Employee Relations Commission, Florida Polytechnic was ordered to rehire the employees with back pay, to stop making faculty changes without union bargaining and not to discourage union membership.

A university spokesperson said the university is reviewing the ruling and considering next steps.

The Tampa Bay Times reports, among the let go was Casey Fox, the university’s only mental health counselor. A month later, in a tragic turn of events, 21-year-old student, Kevin Masculine, killed himself on campus.

The death prompted Christina Drake, engineering professor, to send an email to the state’s higher education leader, calling Masculine death’s “likely preventable”. Later, Drake’s contract was not renewed.

“It wasn’t about attacking the university, it was about protecting students,” she said of her actions.

Also ordered to be reinstated, Kate Bernard, who was the university’s only librarian.

Written By

Melissa S. Razdrih is a Tampa correspondent for Florida Politics. Razdrih graduated with a Bachelor's degree from the University of Tampa in 2006 and went on to earn a Master's degree before switching gears to write professionally. Since then, Razdrih has been published in national blogs, like PopSugar, and local publications, like Tampa Bay Business and Wealth, on everything from self-care to cryptocurrency, but politics is her passion. Contact her at melissarazdrih@me.com.

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