EDITORIAL: Another administrator leaves amid budget crisis

John Skvoretz, dean of USF’s College of Arts and Sciences, announced his resignation Monday, making him the third USF administrator to depart in eight months.

Former Chief Financial Officer Carl Carlucci confirmed his departure in April to join former provost Renu Khator at the University of Houston, who announced her departure in October.

While Skvoretz said he was relieved to be leaving USF after six “extremely stressful” months, he also said he would regret “that I will not be in a position to help steer the College through what are likely to be some very tumultuous waters in the coming months.”

There is a very clear way for Skvoretz to ease his regret over leaving USF: Don’t leave.

Though Skvoretz said his resignation was not a reaction to administrative decisions made in response to looming budget cuts, he has made it quite clear that, ultimately, it is.

He stated in a letter announcing his resignation to colleagues that “It has been extremely difficult over the past six months to see the advocating of proposals for (the college’s) potential dismantling with quite limited consideration of the up and down sides of such (a) large and potentially contentious undertaking.”

Skvoretz also called decisions in response to the budget cuts “very, very disheartening, coming at a time when the college was ready to mature into a full-profile teaching and research operation.”

Aside from Carlucci and Khator, Skvoretz’s departure is in league with the actions of many university employees across the state as Florida’s budget situation grows bleaker.

St. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler wrote that state universities “are already into a ‘brain drain’ as some of Florida’s university leaders and faculty are lured to states that appreciate them more.” He noted that high-profile faculty and administrators from several universities, including UF and FSU, “have left for Pennsylvania and Iowa, for Northwestern and Tulane, for Ohio and North Carolina. There has been a drumbeat of departure reports.”

Granted, it is certainly a miserable time to be an administrator at a Florida public university. That misery is undoubtedly compounded for somebody like Skvoretz, who heads a college at which talk of program and department reorganization – including “dismantling” – has been aimed for months.

But the fact is, if the dean is as vehemently opposed to the potential changes as he says he is, he should stay at USF and fight to keep his college afloat, not jump ship like so many others.