No one can ever claim that the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), which oversees the public colleges in Florida, is “woke.” Because when it comes to gender questions on their very own job applications on their website, their eyes are wide shut.
In a letter to the search committee for the new President of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, the BOG’s Chancellor Raymond Rodriguez ordered FAU to suspend their search process after announcing their three finalists for the position, which didn’t include the unqualified politician and ex-casino consultant, Randy Fine, on the list.
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One of the two reasons given for ordering a stop to the process and launching a full investigation is because the search firm, ASG, hired by FAU to recruit potential candidates, asked candidates if they would participate in an anonymous and optional survey strictly for their own data-keeping purposes. The survey had nothing to do with the actual application process, and anyone who chose to participate (we don’t know if anyone even did) would find it impossible to link their answers to themselves. It’s much like an anonymous customer service survey as seen in any other business.
But according to the BOG, after the three finalists were named, one male applicant who didn’t make the cut complained.
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In the letter to FAU, the Chancellor stated that a candidate was “asked if his gender was ‘male, female, or other’ and what his ‘preferred pronouns were.'” These inquiries are wholly irrelevant, inappropriate, and potentially illegal.
It goes on to say, “The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that ‘questions about an applicant’s sex including sexual orientation, [and] gender identity… are generally viewed as not job-related and problematic under Title VII unless a defense or exception applies.'” (Source: https://www.eeoc.gov/pre-employment-inquiries-and-gender, last accessed July 6, 2023.)
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Keep in mind again that these questions were 100% optional, anonymous, and the answers were not even provided to the search committee.
However, on the Florida BOG website, under the careers tab, there are two job openings. When the application is opened to apply for the jobs, right after filling out your personal identifying information, the next thing that is asked for is your… wait for it… gender. Right after that question, you are asked for your race.
The difference is that when filling out the application for the Board of Governors job, it is not anonymous, and your answers are linked to you and only you, and are actually part of the job application.
But how can that be? Because the person in charge of the BOG just launched an investigation and halted the search for a University President over these “potentially illegal, irrelevant, inappropriate, and problematic” questions.
Should the state now launch an investigation into the Florida Board of Governors as well for asking these questions for their own jobs?
Granted, the anonymous survey that ASG asked offered more options than the state’s does. However, according to the Rodriguez, the issue isn’t the answers but the questions themselves.
Who made the complaint? According to FAU, there were over 60 applicants for the position, which were narrowed down to three. Due to a newly passed state law, applicants are kept confidential unless they are among the finalists, which are made public.
It’s highly unlikely that one of the finalists complained about the optional survey, but we do know of at least one applicant who, for the last two years, has been obsessed with all things gender-related. So much so that nearly 90% of his social media posts during the last legislative session were about people’s genitals. That person is State Representative Randy Fine.
When the Sun Sentinel reached out to him for comment when the news broke that he didn’t make the finalists, he told them, “I don’t know what’s going on!” and hung up the phone. It is quite possible that’s how the news was broken to him that he didn’t make the cut, because he’s vacationing overseas. He hasn’t made a comment to any media outlets since.
What appears to be happening is a last-ditch effort to get the state to run interference and get him back in the hunt for the job. The bad news for him and the state is that now the public has seen the caliber of the applicants who made the cut, including the current superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. Fine’s resume is not within the same stratosphere as these three individuals when it comes to qualifications to lead a large university. There are actually students at FAU with more education than Fine, let alone staff.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the public eye and if an investigation will be opened over the BOG’s application questions as well. But it’s not clear who would conduct the investigation as even on Governor DeSantis’ website for career openings… they ask for your gender too.