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Poly transition begins; buckle your seatbelts

Posted Apr 23, 2012 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated Apr 23, 2012 at 06:03 PM

With the fate of USF Polytechnic sealed, USF President Judy Genshaft met with students and faculty members this morning to answer questions about what’s next.

Despite the success of securing $10 million a year during the Legislative session for a “teach-out” plan, the news is grim.

Ten million dollars is not enough.

The current cost of running Poly is $18 million a year, Genshaft told the faculty, and “we will not be able to hire everyone.”

Does that mean layoffs?

“No definitive answers are there yet,” said USF spokesman Peter Howard in an email.

USF is setting up a transition team, and it “will be looking at all options to make sure the teach out is a success for the students and minimize the impact on faculty and staff.”

USF Poly students fought it to the end with calls and emails to Gov. Rick Scott, but he sided with state Sen. JD Alexander, who pushed through a bill this session to shut down USF Poly and create a new university, Florida Polytechnic, from scratch, in Lakeland.

The bill circumvents the state university Board of Governors’ decision to turn the USF Poly campus into an independent university only after it achieved accreditation, built new classrooms and met other benchmarks.

“Obviously there are a lot of questions out there,” said Howard’s email.

“A transition team will be put together that will include representatives from the Lakeland campus. Consensus is that a clearer picture will emerge in the next couple of months. HR has offered to meet with individuals, and the representatives will be spending time on the Lakeland campus.”

The past six months have been pretty much horrible for USF Poly students and faculty and USF administrators, as budget chairman Alexander enforced his will by threatening to gut USF’s budget if it didn’t go along with what he wanted.

And as this Lakeland Ledger story shows, the pressure keeps rising

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