UF Doc Institute in Crisis

It is over a week ago now that I woke up to the disturbing subject line in my inbox: “Documentary Institute Emergency.”

I read on to learn that The Documentary Institute at the University of Florida, the innovative program where I received my graduate degree had been completely de-funded due to budget cuts.

In the days that have followed, alums and current student have waged a letter-writing campaign and spoken on behalf of the Institute at university senate and board of trustees meetings.

It is not known yet if anything can be done to save the institute.

Several sympathetic articles have been published in Florida newspapers:

http://www.alligator.org/articles/2008/05/15/news/uf_administration/080515_doc.txt

http://www.filmstew.com/showArticle.aspx?ContentID=17249

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/letters/orl-myword1308may13,0,7992274.story

At least a couple clear ironies emerged: at the same time this ground breaking program is losing funding, UF has just signed a big new deal with ABC to have an on-campus bureau, and the university present received an annual bonus last year equal to 2/3 of what the Institute needs to keep going.

No one knows at this point what the future holds for the DI, or the visionaries who run it, but it is a heart-breaker for me and many others that this program that has meant so much to us personally and for our careers could be coming to a close.

Thank you, Churchill, Sandra, Cindy, and Cara for all you have done, and please continue to fight.

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