The following is the way one writer sees the USF debate playing out.
Bet you didn’t know it but Florida is in dire need of another state university. The good thing for you though is that our state Sen. JD Alexander knows this and is working feverishly hard to make this happen. In fact he has taken it upon himself to put in the extra hours to make sure a new university is up and running and at a fully accredited status in almost 48 hours.
The University of South Florida Polytechnic is located in Lakeland and has seen an unbelievable spike in students seeking to earn degrees. The overcrowding, congestion, and shortage of space are unbearable. Potential students banging on locked administration doors, money in hand and screaming, “Degree me!” were too much for Alexander to stomach. The straw that broke his back was when he found out that USF Poly was using elevators, stairwells, restrooms, and maintenance storage rooms, as classrooms. He went ballistic and said, “Enough is enough.”
He mustered the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida and told them the only solution was to separate USF Poly from USF. The governors looked at him quizzically as if he were speaking an unknown language to them. In unison they said, “Huh?” except for that annoying, question peppering, BOG student representative, Michael Long. Somehow during the meeting he had managed to get under the senator’s skin. As things were getting tense but just before it could come to punching blows, in a spray of spittle the enraged senator yelled, “Let me put this another way, if you don’t make USF Poly separate you won’t like what’s coming next!”
Not knowing what else to do the flummoxed, compliant, bobble-headed Board of Governors sheepishly decided to vote for granting USF Poly its independence. Somehow the BOG managed to slip language into the vote that said the transition would take place over a few years. Steam could be seen visibly rising from the back of the senator’s neck. He looked at each one of the governors individually, slowly, methodically, and did the “I’m watching you” motion with his fingers at each one of them. He abruptly left the meeting and mumbled, “This is Genshaft’s doing,” probably meaning USF’s President Judy Genshaft.
When the 2012 Florida Legislative Session convened, the senator decided on a quiet, subtle approach to help USF Poly. He proposed funding one crisp U.S. Dollar in the state budget for USF. This kind of drastic budget cut would force USF to stop using electricity and plenty of other things too. Alexander believed that USF could hold classes outdoors and take advantage of the free Florida sunshine. USF, he also believed, should consider raising tuition and sell itself as a Solar Bright Futures university. If USF wanted more than a dollar for its budget it needed to think, act, and quickly get on board with Ex-USF Poly NOW!
Cutting the USF budget upset many state senators from the Tampa Bay area. They wondered how one senator could have so much say over a university that is not even in that senator’s district? They looked to Senate President Mike Haridopolos for leadership, answers, wisdom, procedural advice, and guidance. He looked at the senators, slowly taking it all in. After a long silent pause he quietly said, “Consider this,” and leaned towards them, “I want to be for ever known as the perfectly, pressed, pigskin, passing, profitable president.” He stood up and then quickly ran outside to play football. Mysteriously he has never been publicly seen again.
Not quite grasping the full, deep, meaning of the “Haridopolos Leadership Method,” which is rumored to be available for sale soon on Amazon.com in several easy to make monthly payments, the senators from Tampa bay, Sens. Paula Dockery, Mike Fasano, Dennis Jones, Arthenia Joyner, Jack Latvala, Jim Norman and Ronda Storms decided to work together to try to restore fairness and sanity to a crazy budget in order to fairly fund what the University of South Florida does for our community.
This is going to be a hard fight and no one likes to know how things are made in the Senate and House, but if you think Florida needs another university slapped together overnight then contact Sen. JD Alexander to let him know this is good.
Senator JD Alexander (850) 487-5044 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think Florida should do it the right way when the time is ready and funding is available then contact your Pinellas County representatives to let them know it should be done the right way.
Representative Ed Hooper (850) 488-7540 email@example.com
Representative Richard Corcoran (850) 488-8528 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Jim Frishe (850) 488-9960 email@example.com
Representative Jeff Brandes (850) 488-5719 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Larry Ahern (850) 488-6197 email@example.com
Representative Peter Nehr (850) 488-5580 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Darryl Rouson (850) 488-0925 email@example.com
Representative Rick Kriseman (850) 488-9337 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Mike Fasano (850) 487-5062 email@example.com
Senator Dennis Jones (850) 487-5065 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Jack Latvala (850) 487-5075 email@example.com
Senator Arthenia Joyner (850) 487-5059 firstname.lastname@example.org