Top 10 USF news stories from the fall of 2002

1. President Bush visits campus

Saturday, Nov. 2 – President George W. Bush visited USF and spoke at the Sun Dome in front of a near-capacity crowd. Bush’s visit marked the first time a president come to campus since Ronald Reagan in 1986.

The president’s address was part of a rally to support the re-election campaign of brother and Florida governor Jeb Bush. But the governor’s campaign was notably lost in the president’s speech, which was more concerned with garnering support for a possible military strike against Iraq.

2. Gov. Jeb Bush wins election

Tuesday, Nov. 5 – November’s gubernatorial race was certain to draw attention before the candidates were announced. Being the first major election to follow the 2000 presidential race, Florida voters were concerned there might be problems again.

But Nov. 5 easily determined that Gov. Jeb Bush would oversee Florida for another four years when Democratic candidate Bill McBride lost 17 percent of the vote to Bush.

Besides electing Bush, voters passed Amendment 9, which will reduce class sizes, and approved Amendment 11, which will call for a new Board of Governors to oversee the current Boards of Trustees.

3. Ending a bargain

Thursday, Nov. 21 – The USF Board of Trustees voted into place 16 emergency rules to govern personnel. The rules go into effect Jan. 7, when the faculty collective bargaining agreement expires and will last for 90 days.

The BOT made the decision to vote in the rules because, its members said, that is the only way to be able to conduct business as usual while a new bargaining agreement is hammered out. The BOT, however, saw vehement protests from both the Faculty Senate and the faculty union. Leaders from those two organizations disagreed with both the principle of the rules and their wording, claiming that the BOT infringed on faculty rights.

The strongest comments against the BOT came from faculty union president Roy Weatherford, who was quoted as saying, “They’re going to screw us,” and that the BOT wanted USF to be “less like Harvard and more like Wal-Mart.”

4. Let the court decide

Wednesday, Aug. 21 – After almost a year of waiting, USF President Judy Genshaft surprised many by not firing controversial professor Sami Al-Arian. Genshaft instead decided to take the matter to court, saying she wanted an opinion on whether a firing would infringe on Al-Arian’s rights.

Following the decision, Genshaft was hit with a wave of criticism. Dissenters said the president’s decision was a stalling tactic and an attempt to place the burden of the decision on the shoulders of the court. Genshaft denied those allegations, saying she merely sought clarification about the legal ramifications of the case.

5. Corey Johnson resigns

Thursday, Oct. 17 – As the USF athletics department made final decisions concerning the new athletic facilities USF deputy athletic director Corey Johnson announced his resignation Oct. 17.

After two women in the athletic department reported allegations of sexual harassment, a trail of misconduct from Johnson’s past was revealed.

Despite a record of inappropriate behavior and misconduct from Johnson’s previous employers at Colorado State University and Nova Southeastern, USF administrators maintained they had no knowledge of this. It was found later that Carr Sports Associates, the consulting firm hired to conduct a background check on Johnson, did not present any reason why USF should not hire Johnson in an oral report to administrators.

6. Football team without a bowl

Friday, Dec. 6 – The USF football team watched helplessly as the final seconds ticked off the clock in a game between East Carolina and Cincinnati. With East Carolina’s loss, the Bulls’ dream of playing in the Hawaii Bowl was snuffed out. The Bulls were forced to watch the 28 post-season games from home despite a 9 – 2 record and being ranked by some publications as high as 18. Further frustration for the Bulls was found in the fact that several teams USF beat played in bowl games.

The reason the team was left at home is because of its Independent status. Bowls are affiliated with conferences, and it is difficult for independent teams to earn invitations. Next season the Bulls will be part of Conference USA and, therefore, will be eligible for one of that conference’s five bowl berths.

7. No answers given to NAACP

Wednesday, Nov. 13 – USF President Judy Genshaft refused to offer assistance to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The group sent a letter to Genshaft asking her to take a stand for two students arrested during a Nov. 2 protest in front of the President George W. Bush rally at the Sun Dome. The NAACP claimed the students’ rights were violated by Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies. Genshaft refused an invitation to meet with the group and, through Media Relations Director Michael Reich, said she would not act on the letter.

8. Al-Arian speaks at protest

Sunday, Nov. 3 – Just a day after President George W. Bush spoke at the Sun Dome, hundreds of protesters rallied at MacDill AirForce Base. They expressed concern about Bush’s discussion of a possible war against Iraq at Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign rally at USF. Civil rights groups, the NAACP and keynote speaker Sami Al-Arian attended and spoke against plans for a preemptive strike.

9. Athletic facility design unveiled

Wednesday, Nov. 6 – The USF Athletic Department is still waiting for the day when the trailers near the Sun Dome will be removed. After designs for a new athletic facility were revealed in November, USF athletics will have a 100,000-square-foot building that has been long awaited. The $13.2 million two-story building will house all USF sports programs beginning in 2005, when construction is expected to be completed. Construction will not begin until later this year.

10. Parking bond sold

Thursday, Nov. 21 – Another long awaited plan for USF includes a new parking structure. Parking and Transportation Services cashed in a 20-year bond in late November so construction for a $14 million parking garage can begin. But parking rates are expected to increase as a result to pay for the bond and future parking structures. In August parking decal rates could increase by $5, and in 2004, the $2-per-credit-hour transportation access fee may increase by 75 cents per credit hour.

Compiled by News Editors Grace Agostin and Rob Brannon