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USF Polytech starts down road to independence

By Lynn Hatter


Tallahassee, FL – A proposal to allow the University of South Florida Polytechnic to become the state's 12th public university has gotten tentative approval from the board that oversees the state's public universities. Lynn Hatter reports the board has set up a series of benchmarks the school will have to meet before it will approve independence.

The board 13-3 in favor of setting up a process to allow USF-Polytechnic to become independent. The school would have to achieve accreditation, set up degree programs, have a minimum of 1244 students with at least half of them in direct STEM programs. The favorable vote comes despite the concerns expressed by university faculty, staff and students and dissenting board members like John Temple.
"Faculty have said no, Students have said no. The newspapers, state lawmakers I mean, what more evidence do you need and I understand we've only graduated one student in engineering. So how can we rely on these representations?"

The USF Poly split has become largely political, with powerful lawmakers like Senate president-designate Don Gaetz and Senate budget chief JD Alexander supporting the split, and Senators Paula Dockery and Mike Fasano opposed.