The league, headed by Palm Beach Gardens&8217; Pamela Goodman, sent a letter to the University of West #Florida Board of Trustees opposing Sen. Don Gaetz&8217;s candidacy for school president. He&8217;s one of four finalists for the post, with a selection committee set to meet again Thursday.
The league battled Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, over legislative and congressional redistricting, an effort he chaired in the Senate, before he rose to presidency of the chamber. The league then led a contentious, three-year legal battle against the boundaries set by the Republican-led Legislature.
Testimony showed that Gaetz was among lawmakers who huddled with Republican Party officials and lobbyists over how to shape districts that could assure the GOP maintained command in Florida. The league and other groups suing claimed actions by Republican leaders violated constitutional requirements that districts not favor or hurt incumbent lawmakers, or either major political party.
Courts eventually created the congressional and Senate district boundaries being used in this year&8217;s elections.
In her letter opposing Gaetz, Goodman said he was part of a “devious conspiracy” to sidestep the Florida Constitution&8217;s &8220;Fair Districts&8221; amendments, which the league supports.
&8220;How can you possibly consider appointing as president of your university this man who thumbed his nose at the constitution and lied about it publicly? Is this the sort of role model you want for students, faculty, families and the community?,&8221; Goodman wrote the UWF Board of Trustees.
&8220;This is a man who, as a Senator and Chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee, took an oath to abide by the laws of The Florida Constitution. As Chair of this committee, maps were passed that were drawn without transparency and resulted in complete noncompliance to the law,&8221; she added.
Gaetz&8217;s candidacy is already opposed by UWF&8217;s faculty and students have started a petition drive dubbed &8220;Argos Against Gaetz.&8221;
Gaetz is hoping to follow in the shoes of Florida State University President John Thrasher, who was chosen to lead that school in 2014. The same year, former Senate President Jeff Atwater, who was elected Florida&8217;s Chief Financial Officer in 2010, failed in a bid for the presidency of Florida Atlantic University.