TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Jim King says he has "no intention" of reviving plans to put a chiropractic school at Florida State University.
It's a question that comes up as the Jacksonville Republican and FSU alum pursues the job of state university system chancellor. King pushed the chiropractic school in a deal with fellow lawmakers and then-Gov. Jeb Bush five years ago, before national backlash, a protest by FSU professors and a 10-3 vote by the Board of Governors killed the deal.
"I'm a realist. I thought that the chiropractor college for FSU was a good thing to do," King said. "We went through all the steps and the Board of Governors decided that they didn't want to do that. That's just the process. I understand that."
But he doesn't apologize for pushing for the deal as a favor to longtime friend Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island, a chiropractor who wanted to work at the school.
"Now if they're upset over the fact that we lobbied them for the chiropractic college, then I stand accused, because we did," said King, who had steered $9 million in annual funding to the school. "It was an initiative that I thought would provide an alumni base that would have been great for an institution. But when it didn't happen, it didn't happen. I just moved on."
Critics called chiropractic pseudo-science, and worried that the school would downgrade the value of other degrees at the university. The incident remains a defining moment in the battle for control of Florida's university system.
King says he thought it was "a good way to get a lot of money for the universities and also to produce a quality product."
"One of the things I saw in the chiropractic thing, was you're going to produce a whole bunch of chiropractic doctors," he said. "And at that time, FSU would have been the first and only university to have a chiropractic school. And if those people were cooperative and concerned and committed, I saw that as a base of alums that you could tap into and who would be loyal to the university.
"A lot of people disagreed with that and that's fine. I don't claim to have all the right ideas."