Senate leaders inserted last-minute language in a budget bill Wednesday to immediately split the Lakeland campus of the University of South Florida into its own university.
The creation of a "Florida Polytechnic" university had been a top priority of Senate budget chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales.
The bill, which was sprung on lawmakers minutes before the start of a higher education budget meeting, would transfer all property, licenses, associated revenues, contracts, balances, appropriations, foundation money and other funds from USF to the new independent university. The bill authorizes the University of Florida to serve in an advisory role to the new university.
"Is this the procedure to get one piece of paper to create a new university?" asked state Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Alachua.
"This is the language already established by the Board of Governors," answered Sen. Evelynn Lynn, the higher education budget chairman and a Republican from Ormond Beach.
The board did not set a deadline