Florida Governor Rick Scott has until April 21 to sign SB 1944. Within a letter Senator Paula Dockery sent to Scott recommending he visit the campus are some facts that many Floridians don’t know about the existing school:
Dockery sent a letter to Scott’s office this week asking him to visit the campus USF Poly currently shares with Polk State College before making a decision on whether it’s ready to split. Dockery has pointed to the branch campus’s 1,300 students — the majority of which are not enrolled in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) that the new university is supposed to specialize in — as evidence that the school isn’t ready for independence.
“These students and faculty members are the ones who will be directly affected,” Dockery wrote. “They, like the overwhelming majority of constituents who have contacted my office, are hoping you veto this legislation, and move more cautiously toward independence.
“As the senator who represents the Lakeland community, I can assure you that most of my constituents support a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics program and a Polytechnic, but they do not support immediate independence and losing the USF presence that Polk County has enjoyed for the past 23 years. There are a few individuals, with financial interests, who are pushing this irresponsible plan to rush the process of creating the 12th university but they are certainly in the minority.”
The reality that USF Poly shared a campus was not really brought up during the push for the bill which Sen. JD Alexander dominated. Nor was the fact that the majority of the students enrolled there now aren’t even STEM majors. If Scott is looking to veto the bill, he’ll take Dockery up on her suggestion and visit the campus.