Gov. Charlie Crist just won’t stop beating the state’s higher education system into the ground.

The latest blow in his general pummeling of Florida’s universities came last week, when his office recommended budget cuts that would slash $272 million – nearly 30 percent of the total cuts proposed­ – from a state university system already shredded to the bone.

The recommendations take a few additional jabs at higher

education, including 84 million, or nearly 9 percent, in community college cuts and 43.8 million in cuts targeted at specific university programs, including $3 million in graduate enhancements at USF.

Perhaps Crist has forgotten that as a Florida State University graduate, he owes his success partly to the education he received from a state higher-education system he seems intent to relegate to the ranks of mediocrity.

He certainly couldn’t have been thinking about his collegiate past when he shot down a Board Of Governors proposal to clot the bleeding with a 5 percent

tuition hike.

And he must have forgotten about his school ties when he threatened to veto the Legislature’s decision to hike tuition at the University of Florida, FSU and USF.

A meeting with university presidents Sep. 4 continued to smack of his consistently abusive treatment of universities.

When a slim majority of the 11 presidents indicated support for a tuition hike, Crist waved them off with a lame: “I’m struggling with it.”

There is a very simple equation for higher education in this state.

Tuition plus state’s allocated funds equals available money to universities equals quality of the higher education system.

Maybe Crist should have done more arithmetic while at FSU, because he just can’t seem to put it together. He stomps on attempts by state universities to raise the quality of their institutions with more revenue from tuition increases. At the same time, he proposes cuts in state funding.

And to top it off, he professes a commitment to higher education.

It just doesn’t add up.

The state university system’s student-to-faculty ratio is now the second highest in the nation, and its instructional cost per degree is the lowest.

Florida’s universities are on the mat.

And Crist won’t stop bruising his alma mater and the 10 other universities in the same system until students fight back.


With your pens. Write your legislators and Crist. Let them know Florida students and Florida universities have not been beat into submission.

It’s time for some changes. Put ’em up, Charlie.