My Documentary

The graduate program in documentary is a new addition to the University of Florida. Instead of writing a thesis, we produce a television documentary.

We are working in teams, so Scott Litvack and I are researching the Johns Committee. Most of you are probably not familar with this committee. The best way to describe it is Florida's version of the McCarthy hearings. Below is a synopsis.

Narrative

Behind Closed Doors

On January 19, 1959, State of Florida officials summoned geography professor Sigmund Diettrich to the Manor Motel in Gainesville, Florida. A few days later, Diettrich attempted suicide. Soon after, he was fired from his job and lost the life that he loved at the University of Florida. Hundreds of other professors and students across the state were also terminated or expelled because of their sexual lifestyle.

The Florida Legislative Investigations Committee, commonly known as the Johns Committee, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to investigate homosexuality at state universities and the public school system. In the end the committee produced a report full of shocking photographs that caused many Floridians to denouce the committee's motives. The Johns Committee is an important part of Florida's history and should be produced in documentary form for several reasons: