Top 10 news stories of Fall 2003

USF joins Big East
(Nov. 5, 2003)

Just months after the Bulls began their first year of Conference USA play, USF accepted an invitation to join the Big East effective in 2005. That makes USF the eighth member of the Big East and helps fill the vacancies created after Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College announced they would leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference. C-USA schools Louisville and Cincinnati will join the Big East with USF as all-sports members; Marquette and DePaul will join as non-football members. Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said it was USF’s athletic and institutional commitment that made the university a good fit. USF, just ending its first year in C-USA, has to pay an exit fee. Though the Big East entrance fee remains unknown, USF President Judy Genshaft has said no state money or academic funds will be used toward the cost.

Replacing Robert Daugherty, Jr.
(Oct. 15, 2003)

USF President Judy Genshaft began searching for a new medical school dean after Robert Daugherty Jr. asked 25 of his top-ranking employees for help in contributing $2,000 to Rep. Johnnie Byrd’s U.S. Senate campaign. Genshaft made him return the checks collected and informed him that he was not fired but would be replaced by an interim dean until the position could be filled permanently. Daugherty’s request for campaign contributions was not related to the search, as Genshaft has said that the search for a new dean was addressed during the summer and again in September. Daugherty, who earned $448,000 a year, has been one of USF’s top donors, along with his wife Joy Culverhouse, widow of Hugh Culverhouse Sr., former owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year they donated $500,000 for an Academic Enrichment Center to be located in the athletics facility.

(Nov. 6, 2003)

Student body president Omar Khan and vice president Ryan Morris launched a campaign attempting to overturn a tracking system for international college students. The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System requires foreign males age 16 or older from a select list of countries to be interviewed and fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland Security. Student Government allocated $1,400 to Khan and Morris so they could travel to Washington, D.C. to speak with Rep. John Conyers about concerns with NSEERS. Previously Khan and Morris met with Genshaft and the Florida Student Association, which represents all SG organizations in the event of lobbying on state and federal governments, about NSEERS. The Internet-based tracking system requires male students from the following countries to register: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Khan and Morris avoid impeachment
(Oct. 1, 2003)

Efforts to impeach student body president Omar Khan and vice president Ryan Morris were for naught after committees declared the allegations weren’t strong enough. Former SG marketing director Bishop Taylor called for an investigation after claiming that Khan and Morris allegedly violated two SG statues. After Taylor was fired on Sept. 8, he said that Khan and Morris broke a statute by refraining from hiring anyone for the position of chief of staff. Taylor also claimed that the position wasn’t properly advertised. Despite the allegations, two investigation committees found no grounds for impeachment.

Weatherford criticizes BOT
(Nov. 24, 2003)

At a Board of Trustees meeting in late November, faculty union president Roy Weatherford blamed officials for intimidating faculty members and ignoring their rights. He added that he is ready to protest by picketing and bringing complaints to university accrediting agencies if necessary. The criticism came 11 months after the faculty union’s collective bargaining agreement expired on Jan. 7. All 11 of Florida’s public universities were left without a contract last year. Weatherford said this has left faculty without a list of rights, such as academic freedom. Board chairman Dick Beard tried to stop Weatherford from further criticism of the BOT at the meeting. Weatherford declined to tell who printed flyers that were distributed at the meeting that read: “A Tin-Pot Dictatorship Will Never be a Research I University.”

Nanotechnology Building
(Oct. 20, 2003)

USF officials marked the groundbreaking for a Nanotechnology Building in the College of Engineering to be completed later this year. The building, which will house nanotechnology research, will feature 1,200 square feet of office space, 3,000 square feet of service facilities and 8,800 square feet of laboratories, which will be open to specialty researchers worldwide. Officials said the building will be a first-class facility and will integrate engineering with other disciplines.

Architecture students protest for better conditions
(Sept. 11, 2003)

Students of the School of Architecture and Community design lead a protest asking for studio space that meets requirements for the number of students in the program. Some students are allotted as little as 24 square feet of studio space; the State University System’s Architect’s Office mandates that studio space be no less than 70 square feet per student. Students sent a letter to the USF administration and alumni asking that the requirements be met. The administration has said the state Legislature simply hasn’t provided it the funds for expansion of the school.

Genshaft addresses crunched budget
(Oct. 16, 2003)

In USF President Judy Genshaft’s annual fall address she advised academic departments and administrators to be creative in thinking up new ways to generate revenue. A state funding level left at 25 percent, with the difference coming from private donations, has put Florida’s public universities in an economic bind. Genshaft said she and other university presidents will continue to address these concerns and lobby for more funds.

SG gets appeal authority on parking tickets
(Oct. 22, 2003)

Parking and Transportation Services gave Student Government the authority to review parking appeal requests. Parking ticket recipients who disagreed with the fine took complaints up with the SG Supreme Court. SG justices have access to the petitioner’s traffic file, which provides information on past appeals, past parking tickets and decals purchased. Parking and Transportation Services said it decided to turn over the appeals process as a learning tool for political science majors. However, SG must still follow the Parking and Transportation Services’ setup for the appeals process.

Fighting for Bright Futures
(Nov. 12, 2003)

In an effort to gain support for the Florida Bright Futures scholarship, Sen. Ken Pruitt, R- Port St. Lucie, came to USF on his statewide tour. Pruitt advised students to voice concerns with legislators about the scholarship, which has been put in jeopardy because of budget constraints. More than 98,000 high school graduates received the scholarship in the 2001-02 school year. Because of Florida’s tight budget, Pruitt said many students are in danger of losing the scholarship. According to the Palm Beach Post, 35,000 high school graduates didn’t receive the scholarship because of Florida’s poor budget.