Matt Childs: Historian leaves Florida to get around state ban on trips to Cuba





Associate history professor Matt Childs needs to spend another four to six months in Cuba to finish his second book on the country's slave history, but Florida's 2-year-old ban on research travel to the communist country prevents him from going.

He has received just one merit raise in his six years at Florida State University. He's married with one toddler, and another baby and endless bills on the way.

So when the University of South Carolina recently came calling, Childs answered.

Starting in the fall, he will teach and pursue his Cuba research from USC's Columbia campus.

"I have made my name now as a scholar of Cuban history, but I can no longer do my job here if I can't go to Cuba to do research," Childs said. "Also, I just did not see a viable financial future in Florida with a growing family. This is what pushed us out."

State university system leaders fear more will follow, as the budget situation worsens and political tensions between academics and lawmakers rise.


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