The value of having an independently selected student member of the Florida Board of Governors was evident last year when a New College sophomore was the only one to speak out against veiled threats from powerful Sen. JD Alexander. Amendment 12 would unnecessarily alter the selection process for the student member to the board, and voters should reject it.
Michael Long is the young man who expressed out loud what had only been whispered: Alexander, then chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was threatening to gut higher education spending if the board did not create a legacy for Alexander by breaking off the University of South Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland into a separate university. Long was on the Board of Governors as the elected chair of the Florida Student Association, which is made up of student body presidents from Florida's public universities.
As initially proposed, the amendment would have converted the student seat to a gubernatorial appointment, a transparent effort to bring the student member under tighter political control. The final version of the amendment is less problematic but still unnecessary, giving the seat to the chair of a newly created organization made up of student body presidents of all state universities — and bypassing the student association.
The biggest booster of this change is Florida State University, which doesn't participate in the FSA since it doesn't want to pay the required dues. But this dues tiff is one that can be resolved short of changing the state Constitution. Amendment 12 was born of an ugly attempt to undermine independent student representation on the Board of Governors and should not pass.
Just say no to the Florida's Legislature's attempts to amend the Florida Constitution. On Amendment 12, the Tampa Bay Times recommends a no vote.
To view previous recommendations for the 2012 general election on Nov. 6, visit: tinyurl.com/tbtimes recommends
To view previous recommendations for the 2012 general election on Nov. 6, visit: tinyurl.com/tbtimesrecommends