September 14: UF in the News, 9/9/21 - 9/13/21

UF student population hits record high for Fall Semester — WUFT, 9/9/21
The University of Florida welcomed a record-high number of students for the fall 2021 semester. 

The university’s record-high fall enrollment is a historic mark following the uncertainty of the previous year, but UF Assistant Vice President for Communications Steve Orlando said the numbers simply reflect what UF represents in the community and in the nation.

In the 20 years since 9/11, security at Orlando’s theme parks has adapted with new tech and threats — The Orlando Sentinel, 9/9/21
Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, theme parks realized, like stadiums and other places where lots of people gather, they could be potential targets for an attack. In the 20 years since, other attacks and events have prompted the parks to constantly update their security protocols in a changing landscape.

Brian Avery — a then-accident investigator at SeaWorld Orlando, now UF lecturer at the College of Health & Human Performance — reflects updated security protocols and procedures parks have made since.

Opinion: False, toxic Sept. 11 conspiracy theories are still widespread today — The Washington Post, 9/10/21
Conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 remain widespread: 1 in 6 Americans think Bush administration officials knew about the attacks and intentionally let them happen so they could wage war in the Middle East. Others go further, arguing that the government planned and executed the attacks.

These theories — commonly known as “Trutherism” — raise important questions. How does a conspiracy theory take hold? And why, 20 years after the attack, does it endure?

Mark Fenster, a law professor at UF, weighs on how an entire Trutherism industry formed.

The Independent published a similar article.

9/11, once a rare source of American unity, is now another political battleground — Newsweek, 9/12/21
Two decades ago, American unity appeared to reach record highs in the wake of the devastating September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Today, 9/11 is a source of substantial political tensions.

How the partisan rifts and tensions within American society play out remains to be seen in the coming years. While the unifying nature of 9/11 may have been short-lived, many politicians — Democrats and Republicans — often speak nostalgically in favor of greater bipartisanship and unity in the nation.

Stephen Craig, a political science professor with UF, said voters need to pick one side or the other and give that party time — more than just two or four years — to either succeed or fail with its policies. 

"Given the intense and growing dislike that each side has for the other, I don't expect us to get there for a while,” he added. 

UF becomes a top 5 public university in latest U.S. News rankings — The Tampa Bay Times, 9/13/21

More than a dozen news outlets reported UF’s meteoric rise to Top 5 public university in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings published Monday. 

Politico FloridaThe Orlando Sentinel and WPTV were among those who published similar articles.