Florida proposal designed to prevent university turf battles, sparks new controversy over boundaries
July 18, 2011
The proposed regulation sounds deceptively simple: Require universities to communicate before establishing programs in each others' back yards and outline a way to settle disputes.
But the Board of Governors is dealing with the kind of turf battle that it hoped to solve with the proposal.
University of Florida officials see the plan as a threat to the university's statewide mission. Some officials at other universities and the state university system chancellor say it merely requires more communication and better coordination.
In the face of those polar opposite positions, a task force must determine whether changes can be made to address concerns before a September vote. The regulation has already been amended in an attempt to address one UF concern by exempting extension programs, including those run through UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
UF Provost Joe Glover said the amendment is a "step in the right direction" but doesn't go far enough. He argues that UF's programs outside Gainesville expand access to programs in demand, so the university should be able to offer them with a minimum number of hurdles.