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USF Poly paid $10,000 for Star Wars statues



darthvader.jpgThe force is with them -- and all it cost was $10 grand.

That's how much University of South Florida Polytechnic paid for life-sized statues of Darth Vader and a storm trooper from the movie Star Wars (left), plus likenesses of E.T. and the captain chair from Star Trek. The collection was bought with money from USF's Foundation for USF Poly's business incubators in Polk County.


Because USF's branch campus in Lakeland wants its space to be "something different innovative, progressive and creative," much like Google, according to a memo justifying the purchase. Nevermind that USF Poly still only has 1,300 students or that the incubators' coordinator, who happens to be the son of the campus's leader, said in an annual review that there was "nonexistent demand" for incubator services.

The move further highlights USF Poly chancellor Marshall Goodman's larger-than-life dreams for his campus. 

One might call it science fiction

Even as its enrollment has remained stagnant, USF Poly has worked hard to make itself out to be the next Disney World. And Goodman has worked hard to hammer that image home -- beginning well before he started lobbying to split his campus off from USF and make it independent.

He agreed to pay a famous Spanish architect to build an approximately $100 million USF Poly a new campus. Then he pledged half a million dollars more to document the project with a three-part video series. He has also spent thousands of USF's dollars traveling around the world, promoting his vision. His spending has recently prompted two state senators to ask for a full investigation of all USF Poly's expenditures.

Yet, in a business plan for how USF Poly would logistically become its own institution, Goodman said costs would be marginal -- an assertion that USF is skeptical of.

Hey, at least they've already got Darth Vader.

[Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 2:28pm]


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