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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hundreds lobbying Gov. Rick Scott on Polytechnic



Hundreds of Florida residents on both sides are lobbying Gov. Rick Scott on the question of whether the state should spin off USF Polytechnic in Lakeland and make it the state's 12th university. Scott has not yet received the bill (SB 1994), and he told reporters Tuesday he has still not made up his mind whether to sign or veto the legislation.

The governor's office had logged 1,278 emails on USF Poly through last Thursday. Support for an independent Florida Polytechnic University was outpacing opposition by nearly a 3-to-1 margin (906 emails in support, 371 opposed). Of the 25 phone calls to Scott's office in the same period, 24 were opposed.

Jake Robins of Lakeland urged Scott to "think big" and sign the bill creating a separate Polytechnic U. Robins said the legislation "is just the type of bold thinking that will position our state to be a leader in the nexct century."

Anastasia Burks, a USF Poly student, called on Scott to veto the bill. "We as students weren't even asked if we wated to split from the campus," Burks told Scott, "and as a paying student I truly believe that the students should have some kind of say!"

Burks said Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who championed a separate institution in the Legislature, "has been on this rampage and has only thought about his own self gain and not the students!"

Scott said he has not yet made up his mind.

"I'm spending a lot of time listening to people. I'm going to meet with people, both sides, and try to make the best decision possible," Scott said. "The way I think about all these things is, What's going to be best for these students? I mean, that's why we're doing. That's why we created the universities so our students can get a great education, so they can get a job."     

[Last modified: Thursday, April 5, 2012 1:54pm]


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