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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie and Marco celebrate, SUS not so much



Gov. Charlie Crist and House Speaker Marco Rubio were celebrating this morning, announcing a new $80-million genomics institute at the private, $30,000-a-year University of Miami, where Rubio earned his law degree.

Not celebrating are state university system officials who are about to see their budget fall by a collective $150-million or so this year and even more the next.

The state is supplying UM with the $80-million through an incentive fund Jeb Bush created for the likes of Scripps. Officials say the UM project is an economic development tool that will generate 1,274 jobs and "$3.2-billion in gross state product" over 20 years. The cash comes from the same pot being used to lure to Florida, with a $60-million gift, a public university in Oregon.

Oregon Health & Science university will open a vaccine research institute in Port St. Lucie, which perhaps not coincidentally is the district of Senate President Ken Pruitt. They say they will hire all new staff, not bring people from Oregon.

As universities prepare to lay off professors, cut enrollment and possibly turn away future community college graduates, the thought of $140-million being given to outside institutions pretty much ticks off some university presidents and members of the Board of Governors. Many of them had no idea about the Oregon deal until they read about it in the Times.

Just imagine their fury if the genomics institute or the vaccine center starts poaching research faculty from the likes of UF or USF....

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:08pm]


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