TAMPA, Fla. — Next year, when a student applies to the University of South Florida, he or she is going to apply to one university.
By law, the university has to consolidate the Tampa, Saint Pete and Sarasota-Manatee campuses by July 1st.
This means all three branches will be under one accreditation and graduates will get a diploma that simply says the University of South Florida.
But merging all of these is proving to be challenging.
USF President Steve Currall presented a preliminary plan to the board of trustees last week.
There are some faculty members and lawmakers who have concerns the Tampa campus will have all the decision-making powers under the plan.
Senator Jeff Brandes told 10 News he has strong concerns about the current draft proposal telling us in a statement:
“I do not believe that it encompasses the taskforce’s recommendations, nor does it reflect the spirit of the legislation passed last session which provided clear guidance to create additional local control for the branch campuses. I fully expect the Board to significantly revise this draft before it moves to a vote that more closely aligns with current Florida Law. I believe that USF will be stronger when it works together and embraces the unique qualities in each campus. I look forward to working with USF administration and the Board directly to clarify any ambiguity regarding my concerns.”
USFSP History Professor Ray Arsenault who is the USFSP Faculty Senate President provided the following statement to 10News:
“In my opinion, and in the opinion of most of my colleagues at USFSP, the plan to consolidate the university into one administrative unit is turning out to be an unmitigated disaster for USFSP, the city of St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County. Shifting virtually all of the decision-making power to the Tampa campus threatens our existence as a thriving, semi-autonomous educational institution. This is a very sad day in the history of higher education in Tampa Bay. We can only hope that the Pinellas County legislative delegation will require the central administration in Tampa to abide by recent legislation that protects our status as a branch campus, not a mere instructional site. Our future is in their hands.”
Based on the presentation, Currall would be the head of the administration.
The current regional chancellors at both the USFSP and USF Sarasota-Manatee campuses would be further down the chain.
President Currall released a statement saying:
"The intent of this framework is to provide a perspective through which we will further develop our plans. As I continue with my ongoing listening tour visits, I welcome feedback and ideas from all of our stakeholders, including our faculty and students on all of our campuses, alumni, elected officials, accreditation leaders and members of our communities. USF’s impact stretches well beyond our campus walls, and as such, it is our responsibility to ensure that our university is meeting the needs of all our communities and serves to elevate our region as a whole."
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