Approximately 150 USF School of Architecture and Community Design students protested Wednesday claiming the university has basically denied them funding and recognition.
Obviously the amount of money sent to the university from the Florida Legislature is out of the Board of Trustees hands; however, how that money is divided among the various departments is well within its power. When students are motivated to vocally protest the lack of funding for their program, the question is raised as to whether money is being fairly distributed.
There is evidence to support the protesters’ claims. According to the State University System Architect’s Office and the National Architectural Accreditation Board, 70 square feet of studio space per student is required. The current facilities at USF are providing students with a mere 24 square feet each. The students are forced to either share the space they have, or work elsewhere.
This should not be an issue when looking at the amount of money given to USF. Before cuts, USF’s total budget was upwards of $300 million. For the 2002-2003 school year approximately $120 million alone was divided amongst the various colleges. Fifty-three million dollars is allocated to the College of Arts and Sciences, $15 million to the College of Business and $17 million to the College of Engineering. These are large departments, with equally large operating costs. However, when the College of Architecture, which happened to be the 2001-2002 No. 1 ranked architecture school in Florida, gets stuck with a budget of a little over $1 million, it is no wonder its students are protesting the lack of facilities. The money could stand to be divided a little more fairly.
With every college affected by budget cuts, taking money from one college to give to another is not an option that will make everyone happy. However, when facilities in a program are well below minimum accreditation standards, the university must take appropriate action. Until then, the protests will likely continue.