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Poly leader quits, doubts USF motives

MarkKaylor, a member of USF Polytechnic’s Campus Board, received a two-line letter Thursday confirming that he will be resigning from his position.

“On behalf of the University Board of Trustees (BOT), we are in receipt of your resignation letter and officially accept it,” the letter said. “Thank you for the time and effort you have dedicated to the University of South Florida Polytechnic Campus Board.”

Kaylorresigned because he was discontented with USFadministrators’ commitment to separating Polytechnic from the USF System, he said in a resignation letter submitted six days after the school’s interim Regional Chancellor DavidTouchtonannounced that he will trim$1 million in campus expenditures from the budget.

The announced cuts includedfive positions focused on travel and recruiting in France, Asia, Latin America and Central America.

Kaylorsaid he questionedthe sincerity of USF’scommitment to making Polytechnic an independentuniversity and is concernedwith the “structural inequityand unfair representation that the branch campuses have with the main campus, USF Tampa.”

“I resign because I am dismayedover the representations made at the recentUSFPCampus Board Meeting held on January 23, 2012,” he wrote. “At that meeting,I commented on my impression that there seemed sincerity in the meeting.

“However, to makesubstantive representations in the manner and form done on the January 23, 2012 meeting, and then, the following day, institute an en masse dismissal of key facultyand staff, causes me to conclude those representations made were disingenuous.”

Sen. J.D. Alexander,R-Lake Wales, who has been a key proponent of an independentPolytechnic, told The Lakeland Ledger on Feb. 2 that he also questioned the validity of USF’s pledge to work toward anindependent university.

“I think that MarkKaylorhas USF’s intentions completelycaptured,” he said. “After dealing with USF for nearly14 years on the subject of highereducation for Polk County, I am completely certain that contrary to their public statements, they have no intentions of properly following through in a reasonable and timely way with the Board of Governor’s (BOG) directive to create the12th university.”

But USF spokesman MichaelHoadsaid in an email to The Oracle that he thinksTouchton’sdecisions to streamline campus expenditures were in line with the best interests of the campus.

“My feeling is that DavidTouchtonis doing exactly the right thing,” he said. “He’s stayingfocused on building a STEM(science, technology, engineeringand math) curriculum at USF Polytechnic in achieving the BOG mandate and benchmarks. While any reduction in staff is tough, this keeps the campus focused.”

At the last BOG Polytechniccommittee meeting, USF President JudyGenshaftpledged the University’s commitment tohelping the campus reach the benchmarks set forth by the BOG as necessary to split.

Kaylor, however, remainedunconvinced of USF’s motives.

“While it may not be clear to many, it is very clear to me that the true underlying intentionsof USF Tampa is to scuttle the polytechnic model andotherwise thwart any opportunityto meet the benchmarks set forth by the Board of Governors when it granted status for a twelfth, polytechnic university,”he wrote. “I am very saddenedthat you do not see the great leadership opportunity inbuilding an independent twelfthuniversity, polytechnic.”