..researchers pressured to destroy COVID-19 data, told not to criticize DeSantis

Source: The Hill | December 8, 2021 | Sarakshi Rai

University of Florida researchers pressured to destroy COVID-19 data, told not to criticize DeSantis: report

Researchers at the University of Florida allegedly felt pressured to delete COVID-19 data while working on a study for an undisclosed state entity, according to a report released on Monday by the Faculty Senate committee. 

The report stated that staff felt “external pressure to destroy” data, and “barriers to accessing and analyzing” data in a timely manner.

The document added that staff said there were “barriers to publication of scientific research which inhibited the ability of faculty to contribute scientific findings during a world-wide pandemic.”

Other challenges reported to the committee included “palpable reticence and even fear on the part of faculty to speak up on these issues.” In addition, faculty “often engaged in self-censorship and chose not to ‘rock the boat’ for fear of retaliation,” according to the report. 

University of Florida employees were reportedly told “not to criticize the Governor of Florida [Republican Ron DeSantis] or UF policies related to COVID-19 in media interactions.”

However, Faculty Senate Committee said that they “did not have the resources or the time to fully investigate these reports or their legal and policy implications. Faculty did express discontent about political interference with our mission, that academic freedom is under attack, and that we will likely lose faculty as a result.”


Faculty also expressed concern over funding being pulled if the university’s activities didn’t align with the DeSantis administration, the Tampa Bay Times reported. 


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