Senate offers to study before splitting FSU/FAMU engineering college

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In the course of budget negotiations on Sunday evening, the Florida Senate offered a counterproposal to the House over a controversial plan to split the joint College of Engineering shared by Florida A&M University and Florida State University.

Senators say the state should further study the plan before splitting the school, reports Jeff Burlew of Tallahassee.com.

The plan calls for the Board of Governors to conduct a study starting by Jan. 1 and completed no later than March 1, before deciding on whether the Engineering College should be at FSU, have one school in each school, of keep it the way it is.

Reporters asked Senate Appropriations chair Joe Negron if this latest development means the proposal is dead for this year.

“I’m not sure,” he responded. “We’re looking at the speaker’s request of having the Board of Governors involved in that process.”

FAMU alumni, including Sen. Arthenia Joyner, believes more study is needed.

“It was moving too fast,” Joyner said. “All the stakeholders had not been included in the discussion and now this affords that opportunity, a study by somebody who is presumably qualified to do it.

“I would hope that we will have a fair, objective feasibility study,” she added. “I’m going to follow the issue to see who’s selected to do the study, to make sure that it’s fair. This is going to impact the lives of many people. All of us, the FAMU alumni, have to follow the process and make sure it’s done right.”

The study would focus on cost analysis for each option, faculty resources, curriculums, research potential, admission requirements and student outcomes.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.