The debate over whether or not USF Polytechnic should be granted independence from the main USF campus is growing heated by the minute, with lawmakers from both sides of the issue taking vocal stances.

State Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, recently wrote to the chairwoman of the State University System’s Board of Governors, requesting an audit of USF expenses and demanding an investigation of the “actions of USF leadership,” which he says has launched a “campaign of misinformation” directed at USF Poly.

State Sens. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Paul Dockery, R-Lakeland, had previously penned letters to higher-ups at USF Poly, requesting an audit of their finances. Marshall Goodman, the regional chancellor for USF Poly, responded in a Nov. 8 letter, but, according to Dockery and Fasano, the response “brushes all of [their] concerns aside.”

Dockery and Fasano have now fired back at Goodman, again requesting information about USF Poly finances.

“When the senators asked for that accounting the chancellor sent a response that was less than acceptable to Sens. Dockery and Fasano,” says Fasano aide Greg Giordano. “In their letter they ask specifically for a complete and total audit of expenditures including contracts, vendors, etc. Additionally they ask for a complete accounting of all student services fees collected sand spent. They also ask or an accounting of all reserve accounts.”

Criticism has been leveled at Goodman and USF Poly for spending money on items and services that many might consider frivolous — including some of the following, for which Fasano and Dockery specifically request more information in their letter:

  • $10,000 for Star Wars figures,
  • $200,000 for cameras and a video wall,
  • $500,000 for a video documentary,
  • $800,000 for travel,
  • $500,000 for a public relations contract to market the school,
  • And a multimillion-dollar contract for architectural services.
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