The University of South Florida Board of Trustees is launching a campaign to convince the Florida State Senate not to impose a budget that would cut 58 percent of USF's funding. Other universities face cuts, but more in the 20 to 25 percent range.
At an emergency meeting last night, the trustees discussed the potential impact of the cuts, which include unfunded spending commitments for USF Polytechnic, which would immediate become independent under the Senate legislation.
State Senator J.D. Alexander of Polk County - who controls the Senate's purse strings - has pushed for Poly's independence.
Though it was only mentioned a couple of times - and never in detail - USF's disagreement with Alexander over the independence of USF Polytechnic was clearly on the minds of USF trustees and executives. They discussed the ramifications of a Senate budget proposal that slashes USF's budget more than any other university in the state.
"This university has been under assault for the past several months - and everybody knows why - I'm not going to go into that," said Trustee Chair John Ramil. "I'm really proud of this board of Trustees and of our president, because you have to play the game for a while. But when the game starts to move you away from what's right - what's right for our university and what's right for educating our students - you put your foot down and you say, 'enough.' And we've said 'enough'."
USF President Judy Genshaft called on all supporters of the university to contact their state senator and other legislators to reduce what she called the draconian cuts made to the school's budget.