American Academy of Forensic Sciences Responds to Florida Governor Scott

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the nation’s premier group representing the science of forensics and its application in the legal system, has officially responded to Florida Governor Scott and his statements earlier this week that anthropologists are not needed in Florida and have poor job prospects.

In contrast to Scott’s view, the AAFS highlights the significant growth happening in forensic anthropology, and the importance of forensic anthropology training and education happening right now in Florida.

October 13, 2011

The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

Dear Governor Scott:

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is a multi-disciplinary, professional organization that provides leadership to advance science and its application to the legal system.

Our objectives are to promote professionalism, integrity, competency, education, research and collaboration in the forensic sciences. More than 6,200 AAFS members represent all 50 states of the U.S., and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, as well as 62 other countries worldwide. Our membership includes physicians, attorneys, dentists, toxicologists, document examiners, digital evidence experts, psychiatrists, engineers, physicists, chemists, criminalists, educators, and anthropologists.

Please note that 427 of our members are anthropologists and members of our Physical Anthropology Section. Many of these anthropologists were educated in the state of Florida.

On behalf of the AAFS Board of Directors, I want to stress to you the great value we place on the presence of the anthropologists who are active, productive members of our organization. They are educators, researchers and administrators whose contributions extend well beyond traditional physical anthropology into areas of genetics, technology, research design, and the significant interface with all of our other scientific disciplines. They continually make valuable contributions to our organization and society.

Anthropology clearly represents a major growth area of forensic science. Our future anthropologists will be in demand, and to meet those demands they will need a solid education. If it is true that the state of Florida will not need to add to or replenish its existing infrastructure of highly respected anthropologists, other states may benefit from Florida’s degreed programs in anthropology.

I hope that Florida educational institutions will continue their important role in providing that education.


D. H. Ubelaker, PhD
2011-2012 President
American Academy of Forensic Sciences

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