WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: The state Auditor General had stinging words for University of South Florida officials last week. Besides criticizing former president Frank Borkowski's discretionary spending and the sweetheart handling of a major food service contract, the report identified a litany of sloppy controls and inaccurate record-keeping. Some problems had gone unfixed since last year's audit.
All this was further evidence that USF's bureaucracy needs to become not just more "student-oriented and service-driven" (the current buzzwords of campus reform). It also needs to be more effective.
Of course, many people on USF's support staff work pretty hard, often without adequate resources to do what the state expects of them. Bert Hartley, USF's long-time czar of the bureaucracy, alluded to this when he said the crush of business was one reason USF was lax in balancing its checkbooks and keeping track of university property.
Hartley stopped short of blaming Florida legislators, who over the years have grandstanded for voters by not paying for additional university support staff, even as enrollments and new government requirements increased.
Perhaps Hartley feels chastened by the feedback he's gotten from similar observations in the past.
Fine. We'll say it for him.
A USF FIXTURE: Phyllis Marshall has been at USF longer than almost anybody. Since the beginning, in fact.
When the first women's dormitory opened in 1960 in what is now the University Center, Marshall lived there as the resident instructor. After working with student organizations, she became UC director in 1976.
Several years ago, grateful students and alumni persuaded the Legislature to rename the center for her once she retired.
Now that time has come. Marshall will be leaving in June. Friends and colleagues are sponsoring a dinner in her honor Thursday evening at the UC's Special Events Center. And at 4:30 p.m. the UC will officially be renamed the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.
AIDS AWARENESS: The number of AIDS cases among people age 13 to 24 is doubling every 14 months. At least 13-million people worldwide have the virus associated with the disease.
"It is no longer just a matter of practicing "safe sex,'
" said George Castrataro, leader of the USF AIDS Alliance. "AIDS affects us all, and together we must become more compassionate and educated."
The Alliance, along with student government and several other groups, is sponsoring several hours of events today to promote AIDS awareness. At 10 a.m., a panel will discuss living with AIDS. At 11 a.m. a representative from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta will speak about the state of the epidemic. At 11:30, local singer Flora MacLand will perform, followed by a lecture by author, artist and spiritual teacher Ma Jaya
Bhagavati. All events are in Martin Luther All events are in Martin Luther King Plaza, between the University Center and the Allen Administration Building.
LIBRARY EXTENSION: Last fall, USF's interim president, Robert Bryan, announced plans to close a small graduate program in library science in Fort Lauderdale.
"USF doesn't need to be in Broward County," Bryan said, in a remark that some interpreted as yet another sign of state powers trying to relegate USF to mere "regional" status.
Now USF professors and administrators have convinced new president Betty Castor that the Fort Lauderdale program is healthy, self-supporting and responsive to a special niche of students who want and need advanced training in how to run public libraries.
Castor has decided to restore the program, and USF's territorial scorekeepers are breathing easier again.
SWEET FOLK WISDOM: A continuing conflict between European values and those of other indigenous cultures remains at the heart of many world problems.
At least that's the opinion of the organizers of a national symposium in Tampa this week. They want to explore how folk and indigenous wisdom might be applied to solving those problems, from ecological degradation to the decay of kin and community relations.
Much of the symposium, sponsored by USF and the Florida Humanities Council at the Omni Westshore Hotel, will rely on the academic discourse of anthropology: comparing cultural notions of property, traditional art, knowledge systems and the like. But there also will be workshops and panels for the layperson interested in applying folkways to community work.
Bernice Johnson Reagon, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution, perhaps best known as the founder of the black female singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock, will be the first keynote speaker, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. David Maybury-Lewis, a Harvard anthropology professor and author of the PBS documentary Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Both talks are free, as is a full day of folk performances, craft demonstrations and ethnic foods at the Museum of African-American Art on Saturday. American Indian leader Alfonso Ortiz, an anthropology professor at the University of New Mexico, will speak at the museum at 1 p.m. For more information on the symposium as a whole, which requires advance registration and a fee, call 974-5731.