The chairwoman of Florida's Board of Governors has invited USF officials to make a presentation about the future of the USF Polytechnic campus.
State Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who secured funding for the Lakeland campus, wants to make it a separate institution. University of South Florida Polytechnic touts its focus on technical disciplines and has already applied for separate accreditation status from the Southern Association of Colleges of Schools.
Ava Parker, chairwoman of the board that oversees the state's 11 universities, received a letter supporting the independence move, signed by 29 Polk County leaders, including businessmen, lawyers, chief executives and the mayors of Winter Haven and Lake Wales.
Parker sent a letter to USF president Judy Genshaft about having a presentation when the board meets Sept. 14 and 15 in Miami.
"Over the past decade, the USF Polytechnic campus has matured and grown into an institution that plays an important role in addressing student demand for access to degree programs," Parker wrote in her letter. "As such, I ask that a representative be sent to make a presentation to the Board of Governors regarding the potential future of the USF Polytechnic campus within the State University System."
USF officials said they have accepted the invitation.
Genshaft, in a statement released to the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday, said the university remains committed to the success of USF Polytechnic and the USF system.
"To that end, we welcome, and will engage, in any meaningful discussions intended to ensure these outcomes," she said. "There is nothing more important to me, or to us, than the success of our students, alumni, faculty, region and state."