Universities face regulations to settle turf fights

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's higher education system is in a war with itself. The state's public and private colleges and universities are fighting over turf. Many of the schools want to expand their programs into other parts of the state. The problem is, they often put programs where similar ones exist. Now as Lynn Hatter reports, the group that oversees the state's 11 public universities, is trying to get control of the conflict.

Earlier this month Florida State University announced classes starting in the fall for the new College of Motion Picture Arts and Digital Animation program. It's a partnership between the university and a Hollywood special-effects studio. Frank Patterson is the Dean of the College.

"We are looking for the most gifted and elite storytellers, graphic designers, computer animation specialists. Young people with bright minds who are eager to usher in a new era of digital media in motion pictures."

FSU is also partnering with Indian River State College, but absent from the collaborative is Florida Atlantic University. FAU also has a film program in West Palm Beach, and it's not happy. The FSU-FAU clash is the most recent in a long-list of fights between universities over creating new degree programs. Now the Board of Governors, which oversees the schools, is crafting a new rule to quell the conflict. The rule says the schools have to talk for 60 days. If no agreement is reached, the issue gets bumped up to the Board. But even State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan admits it's a hard task, especially when every school believes it's in the right.

"The point is, people in any system cannot go where they want, and do what they want, when they want to do it. There has to be a public policy reason that serves not only that institution but the system of state universities, the state of Florida and the taxpayers. And that's all these regulations are attempting to do."

The Board of Governors has gotten push-back from several state universities that believe the rules are unfair. The Board is also drawing fire from state and community colleges over a second proposal that allows universities to have undergraduate courses on those schools' campuses. The board will take up the rules again at its next meeting in September.