Category Archives: Articles

Professor to talk on student speech rights at Florida Free Speech forum

Professor Clay Calvert, UF Professor of Law Emeritus & Brechner Eminent Scholar Emeritus, will speak at the Florida Free Speech Forum at the Aloft Hotel, 3743 Hull Road (behind the Hilton UF Conference Center) in Gainesville at noon on Monday, March 13, 2023. 

He will speak on “Student Speech Rights and Social Media: The Case of the Cursing Cheerleader.”

Calvert is lead author of the undergraduate media law textbook, Mass Media Law, and is the author of Voyeur Nation: Media, Privacy, and Peering in Modern Culture.

To attend register at:

You may register to have the lunch preceding the talk (at 11:30 for $20) or just attend the talk at noon at no cost.

Looking ahead tow next month’s forum on Monday, April 10, each year the April forum features the winner of UF’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information annual award. 

The winner will be announced at the end of March and will be featured on the website.

Dogwood Village: Steps forward and back for workforce housing, lessons learned 

by Melissa Hawthorne, ACLC Co-Chair, and Bobby Mermer, PhD, ACLC Coordinator

University towns face unique challenges when it comes to maintaining affordable housing. As student populations grow without adequate campus support, housing stress is placed on the surrounding communities. Rental units are built to cater exclusively to undergraduate students, and end up sitting largely vacant, while wealthier undergraduates gobble up single-family homes, displacing the locals. 

With 29% of Alachua county residents now categorized as low-income (making less than 60% of the area median income) or cost-burdened (paying more than 30% of total income on housing), it is easy to see that Alachua county is facing a workforce housing crisis: nearly one third of the population is struggling to afford housing in the county where they work. 

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From the publisher: Communication breakdown

by Joe Courter

Here we are in the “information age,” defined as “a historical period that began in the mid-20th century. It is characterized by a rapid shift from traditional industries, as established during the Industrial Revolution, to an economy centered on information technology.”  

The heart of information technology is communication, and the dictionary says that is “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviors … the imparting or exchanging of information or news.”

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Ron DeSantis, the bully

by Anonymous

I work for the University of Florida. I used to be so proud of that. Unfortunately, I am not so proud now. 

You see, I’m being bullied. I’m being bullied by our anti-woke governor. His tactics include daily attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion, interfering in curriculum matters, hiring presidents behind closed doors, and retaliating against those who dare to disagree. This bully is backed by his minions in the state legislature, and they have joined together to form an anti-woke cabal, laying waste to enlightened policies, progress, and social justice.

The bullying is taking its toll. Those who have not already fled, wear their sadness like a badge. You can see it so clearly. Everything they say is scrutinized and analyzed, as they are tasked with wiping away legitimate history. Imagine someone who is so ashamed of their history, they want it erased! I know another regime in 1930s Germany that tried to erase history, that tried to ban books, that tried to create “enemies” so they could gain followers. The danger in not knowing history is that it can be repeated. The evil of the past can haunt us in real time. All it takes is for good people to stay silent.

I always think…well, this time he’s gone too far. I always think that tomorrow people will turn against him for his fascism in the name of freedom. But It never happens. The bully keeps us fearful, watchful, and quiet.

Now, there is HB 999. What is this you ask? It’s a way of dismantling Florida’s higher education system and remakes it to appease our fascist leader. It ends diversity programs, bans majors and minors, and shifts vast amounts of power to university boards. It even proposes leaving all faculty hiring to boards of trustees and will allow a faculty member’s tenure to be reviewed “at any time. This bill is set to be effective on July 1, 2023. There are no checks and balances. The governor is free to appoint anyone he wants and is free to have those appointees Implement whatever policies he dictates. Now is the time to ask yourself—Has he gone too far?

No, we won’t back down

UF Community Coalition protests on Feb. 6, first day of UF President Ben Sasse

The text below was originally a press release distributed in advance of the Feb. 6 protest. It was written by a united coalition of University of Florida undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, retired faculty, and community members led by Aron Ali McClory, Kestral Ward, and Rachel Hartnett.

Nearly four months ago, Ben Sasse was coronated as the next president of the University of Florida, after a presidential search shrouded in secrecy and suggestive of state-level political meddling. Gov. DeSantis has recently targeted academic freedom (see” and student health care (see: in higher education, with UF posing no opposition. Students, faculty, and staff have been left to navigate a tumultuous terrain of political ideological warfare occurring on our campus, without guidance, protection, or even comment by our university leaders. Once again, the campus community cannot trust Ben Sasse. 

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Steps taken to make things better

by Joe Courter

On Monday, Feb. 6, I was on my bike heading to Tigert Hall for the protest rally marking the beginning of the Ben Sasse administration as president of the University of Florida. I began reflecting on how many times I had been to those steps for organized rallies and protest. (See “NO WE WON’T BACK DOWN” on page 20 which addresses the Feb. 6 rally’s purpose and demands.)

The first that came to mind was the anti-apartheid protest campaign, trying to get UF to divest its holdings in South Africa investments in the mid-80s. For one 40-day period those steps were occupied constantly, with a big banner proclaiming “Mandela Hall.” The rallies were large enough, and well supported enough, that the Krishnas moved their daily lunch serving over to Tigert. 

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March 2023 Gainesville Iguana

The March issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

• 36 activities to celebrate Women’s History Month
by Kamrin Baker | GoodGoodGood | Feb. 14 |
March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of women. Throughout history, women have been erased and excluded, and women of color, transgender women, and queer women have been subjected to more harmful oppression than their white cisgender sisters. Women’s History Month is a time to confront the ongoing injustices that plague women and a time to celebrate and rejoice in women’s shared humanity.

• An activist group is spreading misinformation to stop solar projects in rural America
by Miranda Green and Michael Copley  | KTEP | Feb. 18 |
A rancher was intrigued by an energy company’s offer to lease his land for a solar plant, however soon after he received the offer, organized opposition with connections to fossil fuel worked to ban big solar plants from being built in the area.

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Stayed On Freedom highlights Gainesville’s Zoharah Simmons’ life, Black Power work

What: Presentation by author Dan Berger
Where: UF Smathers Library East
When: Thursday, Feb. 23

A talk featuring the new book Stayed On Freedom by author Dan Berger will be presented at the UF Smathers Library East on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 5 pm. 

It is a bit of a homecoming, as Dan lived in Gainesville from 1999 to 2003, largely splitting his time between UF and the Civic Media Center.

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Gary Gordon to teach community education classes

Santa Fe College in Gainesville will offer over 150 community education classes during its winter/spring term, split between in-person and on-line classes. For a complete listing, see: Click the Enrich brochure link for details.

Two of the classes will be taught by author, musician, and former City Commissioner Gary Gordon: Introduction to Screenwriting and American Revolution: 1763-1815.

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Can independent journalism survive corporate control? Jeff Cohen speaks at Civic Media Center, February 15

Jeff Cohen will be speaking at the Civic Media Center Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7pm to discuss “Can Independent Journalism Survive Corporate Control?” Jeff was a founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in the 1980s and a co-founder of Roots Action (, a watchdog and online lobbying group. The event is free; donations will be requested. 

Water rights amendment: Sign the petition for clean, healthy water

by Janice Garry

What right is even more fundamental than freedom of speech, or freedom of religion or right to bear arms? 

It is the right to turn on the faucet and have water that is not toxic to drink. 

Or to swim in springs that are not contaminated with fecal material. 

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Harn Museum’s Art After Dark

Thanks to a private grant, the Harn Museum of Art will remain open to the public until 9pm every THURSDAY beginning Jan. 5.

The extended hours offer Harn visitors more time to explore the permanent collection, experience special exhibitions, shop in the store and enjoy food and drinks while listening to music. 

Sunshine State Book Festival, January 27–28

The fourth annual Sunshine State Book Festival will take place Jan. 27 and 28, featuring 150 authors writing in 15 genres. 

This year’s keynote address will be given by Janis Owens, notable author of four novels, a regional cookbook, and a book of nonfiction. She will speak on Jan. 28 at 1pm. 

There will also be 10 readings by authors of various genres, 12 children’s book authors telling stories to kids, and a panel of 4 fantasy and sci-fi authors titled Other Worlds. 

The book festival is free and open to the public. All events will take place at Trinity United Methodist Church at 4000 NW 53rd Ave. in Gainesville. 

For more information and a full listing of events, visit

To Succeed Where Others Failed: Events on book detailing Marion County history

by Mary Savage

Retired Presbyterian minister and former Marion County DEC Chair Bruce Seaman will host several book-signings and discussions about his newly published book To Succeed Where Others Failed: The Untold Story of the Marshall Plantation Raid

The story brings to light the March 1865 Union raid on the Marshall Plantation, which was located near today’s Silver Springs, by black soldiers before the end of the Civil War. Historical research cited reveals the story of enslaved persons freed by the raiders who then led the way to Florida’s east coast. The cost per book is $15. 

The Rev. Seaman has served the Marion County community in many ways, including as DEC Chair from 2007 to 2010, past president of The Bridges Project Ocala, and co-host of the Friday Forum luncheons.

Details and events can be found at:

From the publisher … Wars 2003 and 2023

by Joe Courter

I’ve been thinking more about this Ukraine mess in the past weeks, and it just hit me as I contemplate 2023, that this spring will be the twenty-year anniversary of the Bush administration’s war based on lies and the invasion of Iraq, which came right on the heels of the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan. There was worldwide resistance to the Iraq war, demonstrations all over the world on a scale never seen before or since. Google “2/15/03 demonstrations.” 

Here in 2023, it is a very different situation. It’s being seen like a distant sporting event, and there is cheering for it in this country.  The U.S. is merely funding it, and is not going to be sending troops as was the case in 2003. And, regarding the cheering, imperialism kinda sucks no matter who is doing it, and support of the resistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is understandable. But it is still war,  and the threat of wider war in Europe does exist. We are dealing with an authoritarian leader with no graceful way out. The situation is very dangerous.

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Goodbye, Old Friend

by Joe Courter

Well, I have done it. I no longer have a Gainesville Sun being delivered to me. No more newspaper to read with my morning coffee, as I’ve had for most all of the last 35 years. The final straw was continuing to receive it and read it after the elimination of letters to the editor and the editorials from various sources, and finding it such a hollow experience. 

Oh, I knew this break was coming, beginning with the elimination of the Scene magazine a few years ago and the gap that caused. We are in such a culturally rich city and there goes the part of the newspaper devoted to it. Next big thing was dropping the Saturday paper, another loss for the theater and music scene, and as well the sports on TV listing. And for those that cared, no reports on their high school sports is big, too. 

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January-February 2023 Gainesville Iguana

The January-February issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.

Editors’ picks: News that didn’t fit

• Busted: Florida utility company allegedly paid ‘journalist’ for hatchet job on candidate 
reported by Ana Kasparian | The Young Turks | Dec. 21 | VIDEO – 10:57 minutes |
A Good Morning America producer, Kristen Hentschel, used her connections to try and influence elections while being paid on the side by massive utilities. According to an NPR report, she used her ties with ABC “at least three times to trip up Florida politicians whose stances on environmental regulations cut against the interests” of clients of Matrix LLC, a political consulting firm that was accused of spying on environmentalists and journalists for the benefit of its corporate clients.

• Concerns over disinformation grow after Musk relaxes Twitter ban on political ads
by Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams | Jan. 4 |
Twitter has relaxed a ban on political and issue-based advertising that’s been in place for over three years. Critics are concerned about the social media giant serving as “a major new forum for massive amounts of money to be spent to influence politics.”

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News from the Civic Media Center

by Joe Courter

We are back alive after the Covid shutdown. We have a new coordinator, John Wright, and he has really jumped into the job after health issues and personal setbacks caused our recently hired coordinator Chris Overly to resign in September. 

Our 29th anniversary at the Matheson Museum went well and we greatly thank them for having such a great space and their support. 

We were the site of a successful Queer the Fest benefit show on the Saturday of Fest weekend, and then we were a Fest venue on Sunday, which went well. 

Free Grocery store take over on Tuesdays doing both deliveries and in CMC pick-ups. 

We will have a table at the Downtown Arts Festival Nov. 19 and 20, right between Maude’s and the Hipp. There will be new stickers, an Art Raffle featuring a ceramics piece by Ana Varela and another piece by another CMC supporting artist TBA). 

We will also have brand new 2023 Slingshot Organizers, which can also be ordered at www.civicmediacenter/store. On Dec. 7, we will host veteran peace activist George Lakey, in an event co-sponsored by Third House Books.

This is the beginning of our 30th year, and we hope to build up to a grand event in October 2023. We thank everyone who has supported us over the years, and for your continued support.