TALLAHASSEE — The presidents of the 11 institutions of the State University System of Florida will hold a press conference Thursday at the Capitol to highlight concerns regarding the Florida House’s proposed budget for higher education.
“The presidents are gravely concerned about the potential for devastating cuts, hundreds of millions of dollars, to the basic state support that keeps our universities open,” said President John Delaney of the University of North Florida, who is assisting the Board of Governors on legislative affairs. “We respect the concerns of House members, but we want to encourage those members to reconsider their position and find a way to move closer to the Senate’s budget proposal.”
Delaney pointed out that, although the Senate proposal would cut $250 million out of the basic state support provided the universities, the House proposal would take twice as much – $500 million – plus another $100 million in salary reductions.
“Our universities have already lost over a quarter-billion in state support, in previous budget reductions,” Delaney said. “If the House takes another half-a-billion, the consequences would be more than serious. Numerous degree programs will be shut down, people will have to give up their jobs, and some branch campuses may be closed. We want to avoid that, and we know the House members do as well.”
The press conference will be at 10:45 a.m. EDT in the courtyard between the Capitol and the Old Capitol.
Participating in the press conference will be:
■ Sheila M. McDevitt, chair of the Board of Governors.
■ President Bernie Machen of the University of Florida.
■ President James Ammons of Florida A&M University.
■ President T.K. Wetherell of Florida State University.
■ President Judy Genshaft of the University of South Florida.
■ President Modesto Maidique of Florida International University.
■ President Gordon E. Michalson Jr. of the New College of Florida.
■ President John Hitt of the University of Central Florida.
■ President Wilson Bradshaw of Florida Gulf Coast University.
■ President Frank Brogan of Florida Atlantic University.
■ Interim President Judith A. Bense of the University of West Florida.
■ President John Delaney of the University of North Florida, who serves as President in Residence to the Board of Governors.