Late yesterday, the state Senate approved a plan to make USF’s Polytechnic campus the state’s 12th university. Only four lawmakers voted against it.
During budget debates on Thursday, the University of South Florida saw significant reductions to its much-disputed budget cuts, a victory for the school that was facing a nearly 44 percent decrease in funding.
With the compromise on funding, however, came approval of Senate budget chief JD Alexander’s plan to create the state’s 12th university, which was approved in a 35-4 vote. Senators Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, were two of only four senators to vote against it. Both have been vocal in their opposition to Alexander’s plan.
The move must still be approved by both the House and Gov. Rick Scott. Alexander, for one, seems confident, saying yesterday that he’s “got a pretty good batting record” when it comes to getting proposals approved.
Alexander, R-Lake Wales, argued that USF has dragged its feet in allowing USF Poly to grow, and that the school must receive independence as soon as possible. During yesterday’s budget debate, he said that USF Poly students were more like “University of Florida wannabes,” and defended purchases made by the school’s ex-Chancellor, Marshall Goodman. (Goodman came under fire for his purchase of life-size Star Wars figurines for the school and for spending $500,000 on a promotional video to market the school, and was eventually fired.)