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Rep. proposes curious change to state Board of Governors membership

Posted Dec 7, 2011 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated Dec 9, 2011 at 09:42 AM

One of the most dramatic moments of the recent debate over USF Polytechnic’s independence came when the student member of the Board of Governors challenged Sen. JD Alexander.

The New College student, Michael Long, told the crowd that Alexander had threatened to withdraw his support for higher education if the board didn’t approve the independence bid, which Alexander was pushing.

Long added, “I do not feel very well represented by JD and his comments.”

Long represents the Florida Student Association on the board.

Alexander chairs the Senate Budget Committee.

Now comes a Legislative proposal to take the Florida Student Association member off the board. Instead, the governor would be authorized to name a university student body president to that spot.

Pay back?

Maybe. Maybe not. A similar measure came up last year.

The one this year comes from state Rep. Matt Gaetz. He says universities have to pay to join the Florida Student Association, and the seat should be open to those, such as FSU, that don’t want to pay that fee.

But Gaetz is also the son of incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, who came to that Board of Governor’s meeting in Boca Raton and spoke in support of Alexander.

When the meeting ended, Alexander approached Long. He said Long’s comments were “very inappropriate,” then walked away.

And as he went, Long heard him say, “Good luck with your political career.”