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Genshaft Speaks Following Resignation of USFSP Chancellor

Eric Younghans
USF Health
USF System President Judy Genshaft (left) speaks to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik at a Wednesday event marking the beginning of construction of the USF Morsani Medical School in Vinik's "Water Street" project.

University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft has made her first public statements following the departure of the leader of USF St. Petersburg.

And while the agreement between the university and former Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska means there's not a lot Genshaft can say, she repeatedly emphasized the university is not looking backwards.

After four years at USFSP, Wisniewska resigned Monday after issues arose during the evacuation of her campus before Hurricane Irma. She also left the state for Atlanta, apparently without informing USF officials first.

Speaking at a Wednesday morning event marking the start of construction of the downtown Tampa USF Morsani College of Medicine, Genshaft said she wouldn't comment about the matter beyond the documents the university had already released.

"We're very, very confident, optimistic in moving forward with the USF St. Petersburg institution and all the initiatives that they have moving forward," she said.

When pressed by reporters for answers about the university's evacuation procedures and apparent communication breakdown between leadership at USF Tampa and USF St. Pete, Genshaft emphasized that no one was in danger at any time.

"Our number one priority is our students and our faculty, staff, everybody that works at USF," Genshaft added. "We are one of the largest employers in the region and safety and security, health, that's what we're here for, that's what I'm here for."

And even in praising Wisniewska's temporary replacement, Genshaft continued emphasizing the school's direction.

"We're really, really pleased to have Dr. Martin Tadlock as the interim Regional Chancellor, assisted by Dr. William Hogarth, who is well-respected and beloved in the St. Pete community, as well as Pinellas County and the whole region," she said. "We're not going to skip a beat in forward movement."

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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