Devastating St. Pete Times editorial about FSU: 'For Sale University'

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This editorial illustrates how pathetic the arguments from President Barron and Dean Rasmussen truly are. It is amazing that the integrity and reputation of such a great institution has been sold out for such a paltry sum. Sign theProgress Florida petition at:http://bit.ly/l6TGL5. Info on Thursday’s rally on campus at:PROTEST 5/19: Say No to Koch Money! An excerpt from the editorial:

Barron inherited the deal when he became president in late 2009. Now he wholeheartedly defends the plan. Barron contends the deal does not compromise academic freedom since the economics department faculty ?not the foundation ?ultimately decides which job candidate to hire. But whether the foundation funds that hire is left up to its advisory committee. Yet Barron claims the foundation’s control of the purse strings is of little consequence since the university set aside other dollars in case the foundation doesn’t pony up as planned.

But Barron is ignoring the basic rule that money is power. Traditionally, donors turn their money over to universities and trust them to spend it as they expressed ?which still gives them enormous influence but not veto power. Yet the Koch Foundation requires FSU’s economics department to continuously ask an advisory committee for money. That will disproportionately influence the department’s hiring and those faculty members’ lines of inquiry as long as the contract is in place.

This encroachment on academic freedom did not initially occur on Barron’s watch, but it is up to him to repair the damage. He should cancel the contract with Koch and pay for the professors with public money, or rewrite the contract and accept an outright gift with no strings attached. To restore FSU’s reputation, he needs to send the message that the university’s integrity is not for sale.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.