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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

USF Poly split debate rages on



Two-and-a-half hours into the debate about whether to make USF Polytechnic the state's 12th university, at the Florida Board of Governors meeting, the discussion rages on. But it's becoming evident that several of the board members are in favor of putting certain conditions on USF Polytechnic before deciding whether to split it off. 

"I don’t think anyone at any table wants to vote to make USF Poly independent tomorrow," said Board member Dean Colson. Several members backed that notion up, mentioning that there should be funding benchmarks or certain criteria met before they make a choice.

"We need time to prove that what's in this brochure can really come to fruition," said member Dick Beard.

The idea came after scathing remarks by fellow member John Temple, who called USF Poly Chancellor Marshall Goodman's business plan to separate "a piece of crap."

And it followed harsh criticism by the board's faculty representative, Rick Yost, and student member Michael Long, who attends New College.

Long's remarks had the strongest reaction from the audience, which gasped when Long said Sen. J.D. Alexander essentially threatened to stop supporting higher education if the board didn't vote yes on the USF Poly independence issue. 

"I do not feel very well represented by J.D. Alexander," Long said.

When Alexander took the podium moments earlier, he recounted his 14 years in the legislature. He said he has continually fought for the USF Poly campus, but that it's been stifled by USF all along the way. 

"There's a lot of talk about supporting this campus, but it really never has been supported," Alexander said. 

He was referring to comments made earlier by USF President Judy Genshaft and USF Board of Trustees Chairman John Ramil, who urged the Board to keep USF united. They vowed to continue to support the Lakeland campus's polytechnic mission, one they said has been an important part of the university's strategic plan for years. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 6:17pm]


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