Polytechnic committee moves forward with independence
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 02:01
After the initial sting from a flurry of angry letters subsided, USF and Board of Governors (BOG) leaders discussed the steps necessary to move forward with creating an independent Polytechnic campus.
The BOG select committee on USF Polytechnic met Thursday in Orlando to discuss accreditation and the search for a new regional chancellor. USF President Judy Genshaft, who remained relatively quiet during the meeting, came under harsh criticism earlier this month after she decided to demote former Regional Chancellor Marshall Goodman to teaching faculty.
Former BOG chairwoman Ava Parker wrote a public letter to the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 4, saying Genshaft's move left BOG members "in the dark" and created "tension" and "unnecessary friction."
A day before the meeting, two state senators came to Genshaft's defense.
Sens. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) and Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), who called for a financial audit of Polytechnic last year, sent a letter to Parker calling her letter in the Times a "kneejerk reaction" to political pressures and requesting she correct her statements. Parker has yet to respond.
Thursday's meeting took a somber tone as all attendees pledged their commitment to Polytechnic's future independence.
"Our purpose here is a very narrow mandate by the Board of Governors," chairman Mori Hosseini said. "The mandate is for us to commit to collaboration between the USF Board and its administration, and at the end of the day, assuming that all of the criteria are met, that we have a 12th university. That is the mandate that has been given to us and we are very serious about this mandate."
State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan echoed Hosseini's sentiments of solidarity.
"The people surrounding this table are going to put their best effort forward to make sure the motion that was passed by the Board of Governors some weeks ago becomes a reality," he said. "Today is an important statement that we are going to do this together."