Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: USF St. Petersburg makes remarkable progress

For the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, this is a summer of great promise. The chancellor who was hired last year is settling in, the Legislature steered millions toward new construction, and relationships with business partners are being expanded. A campus that too often struggled to find its identity is developing an ambitious long-range plan for increasing enrollment, enhancing its research and strengthening its ties to the community. That vision will benefit USFSP students, enrich the city and provide more skilled graduates for the regional workforce.

Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska hopes to increase enrollment from 4,700 students to 10,000 students over the next decade, which would generate more tuition money to hire more faculty, improve student services such as academic counseling and enhance research. Much of the growth would be in the later years, and a campus that did not have on-campus housing until several years ago would add more rooms. The University Student Center that was built two years ago bustles with activity, student applications are up and academic standards for admission are rising.

Wisniewska envisions closer ties to local employers who too often have to look elsewhere for new college graduates with the skills they seek. She sees how academic programs in areas such as finance, health care and information technology could be tailored to prepare students for jobs in the area workforce and enhance USFSP's position as an option for top high school students who gave little thought to staying home for college in other eras. The long-range plan is expected to be presented to USF president Judy Genshaft and the Board of Trustees in September.

While USFSP has its own academic accreditation, it remains appropriately tied to USF. Arguments for full independence by some legislators and other parochial interests in past years have faded away, and that is a positive development. This is a mutually beneficial relationship with plenty of branding and educational benefits, and there is every reason for that to continue. For example, the highly regarded USF College of Marine Science is on the St. Petersburg campus. And last week, USF and All Children's Hospital announced plans for a joint research and education facility on 1.4 acres the university gave to the hospital. That is a promising sign for USF Health and its plans to conduct joint research with All Children's, which joined Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2011.

Meanwhile, USFSP hopes to break ground this fall on a sparkling new building for its College of Business, whose students and faculty are scattered in several buildings now. The Legislature already has allocated $15 million toward the $27 million project, and the university is seeking a major private donation in return for naming rights. The building is expected to include an entrepreneurship center, which should fit nicely with other St. Petersburg efforts to create small business incubators.

USFSP's remarkable progress is evident in its sparkling campus, residential housing and increased presence of students, creating a small campus feel that was only a dream more than a decade or so ago. Its relationships with USF and the larger community are strengthening, and the long-term vision offers even greater promise for a vibrant university that is a key to St. Petersburg's future.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

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Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

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Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

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Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
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