As USF president Genshaft and Alexander talk, senator plans back-up amendment

February 20, 2012 

As USF President Judy Genshaft and Sen. JD Alexander talk about how to make cuts to the university more fair in USF's eyes, Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, is circling the halls gathering support for a contingency plan: an amendment that would give USF back the money Norman says they need to be on par with cuts to other schools.

Genshaft, who arrived just before 2 p.m., wouldn't offer a number, at least not publicly. She said she'll be asking for "fairness."

Norman put the dollar figure at about $45 million -- $33 million less of a cut than the $78 million Alexander originally proposed. He said he also wants the Senate to give USF the $18 million it needs for USF Polytechnic faculty and $6 million for the pharmacy school that it'll have to absorb if the Lakeland branch campus splits off into the state's 12th university, as Alexander wants.

He said the idea has support in the Senate, and he's getting ready to start working the halls of the House -- just in case Genshaft and Alexander don't come to an aggreement today.

Just before walking into her meeting with Alexander, Genshaft confirmed that it's the first time she and the senate budget chairman have spoken face-to-face was at the Board of Governors meeting in November, where she said for the first time that USF wanted USF Poly to remain a part of USF. At that meeting, the governors voted to delay USF Poly's independence by setting several benchmarks.

"This is our opportunity to talk," Genshaft said. "We hope it's just one of the many dialogues that we have."

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