Senators request independent entity audit Poly, Faculty Senate opposes split

Two state senators and the USF Polytechnic’s Faculty Senate sent letters in response to ongoing queries about USF Polytechnic.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, sent a letter to Regional Chancellor Marshall Goodman Tuesday requesting a financial audit of USF Polytechnic, now that the USF System says they will not do the audit.

In the letter, the senators wrote: “The recent headlines regarding expenditures made under your leadership make it imperative that in the spirit of transparency, you immediately initiate a thorough audit of all expenditures, to be performed by an independent entity.”

The request follows reports on Polytechnic’s investments of $140,000 in private funds on a YouTube video, promoting how its new campus will be constructed by architect Santiago Calatrava, and $500,000 in state funds on a three-part documentary. The letter also stated “as the 2012 legislative session approaches with a looming budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion, it is of the utmost importance that every dollar entrusted to state government and state institutions be spent prudently.”

The Board of Governors (BOG) is scheduled to vote on whether USF Polytechnic should separate from the USF System at its meeting next week at Florida Atlantic University. However, the senators wrote “regardless of the impending decision that will be made by the (BOG) next week, more detailed financial information is necessary.”

The USF Polytechnic Faculty Senate sent a letter to the Board of Governors Tuesday on its stance against the possible split.

“We, the duly elected USF Polytechnic Faculty Senators, respectfully request that the Board of Governors of the State University System vote at this time to deny a separation of USF Polytechnic from the USF System,” the letter said. “We are strong supporters of USF and USF Polytechnic. As a group, we are opposed to the speed and lack of objective analysis with which this decision is being made.”

It listed reasons for why the separation should not occur, such as separation costs, ongoing funding, students, faculty and accreditation.

Dockery and Fasano could not be immediately reached for comment.