A bill that would split off USF Polytechnic as the state’s 12th university is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. Scott has not said if he will sign the bill, which has been hotly contested among state legislators.
During a recent speech at the University of Florida, former Florida Gov. Bob Graham criticized the bill, saying he hopes that the year 2013 ”will have a focus on reversing the damage to the state university system, just like 2012 had to be about reversing the damage to the environment.”
State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, has also voiced opposition to the bill.
“[Fasano] believes the Board of Governors had laid out a very reasonable pathway to independence last fall,” Fasano Chief Legislative Aide Greg Giordano writes in an email to the Florida Independent. “That plan would have ensured that the students and the university were both fully engaged in the transition including acquiring accreditation, proper faculty staffing and other important aspects of creating a university. The legislation was a run around the board and was done without the full support of the student body, the university and the community as a whole.”
Earlier this week, state Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, penned a letter to Scott, urging him to meet with USF Polytechnic students before making a decision on signing the bill into law.
State Sen. J.D. Alexander R-Lake Wales, was the primary force behind the bill.