SEMINOLE — President Carl Kuttler wants his college to lead the way in fighting human trafficking.
And to help jump start his goal, Kuttler was scheduled to meet with Nobel Prize winner Betty Williams last Friday in Tallahassee. Williams, a native of Northern Ireland, is best known for denouncing violence and war. She is president of the World Centers of Compassion for Children and chairperson of the Institute for Asian Democracy. Williams is also working to end human trafficking in women and children.
"St. Petersburg College sees this as an opportunity," Kuttler told members of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce during a Thursday lunch. "Hopefully, (we) can be the lead college in this country in fighting human trafficking."
Such a program, if established, could work in conjunction with the college's public safety study curriculum that offers a specialization in gangs. As part of that specialization, students travel to Guatemala, where many Tampa Bay area gang members come from.
The program gives participants a chance to meet with Guatemala's Civilian National Police to hear firsthand the problems they face in combating gangs and other crime. It also gives students a chance to study the factors — social, economic and political — that influence gangs, policing and life in Guatemala.
Kuttler said thinking creatively, forming partnerships and being open to new ways of doing things have made the college an example to others across the United States. But, as successful as Kuttler has been with many of his programs, he had to report a bit of bad news.
A potential partnership with the University of Florida that would have established a school of veterinary medicine at SPC, likely on the Seminole campus, probably won't happen.
At least not in the near future.
The economy has made it hard to establish such new programs. But Kuttler said he has not completely lost faith in landing a vet school: "I haven't given up."