Poly leader quits, doubts USF motives


Mark Kaylor, 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.”

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

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

Kaylor said he questioned the sincerity of USF’s commitment to making Polytechnic an independent university and is concerned with the “structural inequity and unfair representation that the branch campuses have with the main campus, USF Tampa.”

“I resign because I am dismayed over the representations made at the recent USFP Campus 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 make substantive 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 faculty and 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 independent Polytechnic, told The Lakeland Ledger on Feb. 2 that he also questioned the validity of USF’s pledge to work toward an independent university.

“I think that Mark Kaylor has USF’s intentions completely captured,” he said. “After dealing with USF for nearly14 years on the subject of higher education 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 the 12th university.”

But USF spokesman Michael Hoad said in an email to The Oracle that he thinks Touchton’s decisions to streamline campus expenditures were in line with the best interests of the campus.

“My feeling is that David Touchton is doing exactly the right thing,” he said. “He’s staying focused on building a STEM (science, technology, engineering and 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 Polytechnic committee meeting, USF President Judy Genshaft pledged the University’s commitment to helping the campus reach the benchmarks set forth by the BOG as necessary to split.

Kaylor, however, remained unconvinced of USF’s motives.

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