Here’s what caught my eye over the weekend…

SPECIAL SECTION: The Creation of Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Governor Signs Controversial Bill to Create New Public University
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed legislation on Friday afternoon to turn a branch campus of the University of South Florida into a freestanding institution that would be the state’s 12th public university, the Tampa Bay Times and the Associated Press report. In signing the bill, the Republican governor defied the wishes of the university system’s Board of Governors, which endorsed the idea of making the Lakeland campus a stand-alone university but wanted to wait until it had a minimum enrollment and was prepared to meet the requirements of its accreditor.

Florida Governor Signs Bill to Create New University
Inside Higher Ed
Governor Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, on Friday signed legislation to create Florida Polytechnic as a freestanding university, The Miami Herald reported. The campus has been a branch of the University of South Florida.

READ: Gov. Rick Scott’s FPU letter

Scott Signs Bill to Establish Florida Poly as State’s 12th University
The Ledger
The plan for the new university became law immediately, but the University of South Florida Polytechnic has 10 weeks left to live. On July 1, USF Poly will become part of USF’s Tampa- based system and be phased out over a period of about five years.

Gov. Rick Scott approves bill creating new state university
Florida has its 12th public university. As the state’s other universities are about to see their coffers drained by hundreds of millions of dollars, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill creating Florida Polytechnic

Scott signs off on Florida Polytechnic
News Chief
Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland will take its place as the 12th state university July 1, Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday…

Scott OK’s Fla Poly as state’s 12th university
Palm Beach Post
Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland would emerge as the state’s 12th public university, under legislation signed into law Friday night by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill (SP 1994) was shepherded through the Legislature by powerful Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales. The term-limited Alexander said accelerating the independence of the University of South Florida’s Polytechnic campus would prove a key job creator in the state…

Rick Scott Signs Bill to Open Florida Polytechnic University July 1
Sunshine State News
The state’s 12th public university, Florida Polytechnic University, will take on life this summer over the objections of some legislators, students and officials in the Lakeland area.  Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 1994 on Friday, creating the independent school by splitting off the 14-year-old branch campus from the University of South Florida…

Scott approves bill creating Florida Polytechnic University
Florida has its 12th public university. As the state’s other universities are about to see their coffers drained by hundreds of millions of dollars, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill creating Florida Polytechnic. The bill had sparked an intense reaction across the state, with everyone from students, faculty, politicians and business leaders weighing in…

State University System

Task Force Backlash
About a dozen members of the Dream Defenders were at the state capitol today. With their mouths taped shut, these students from FAMU and FSU marched silently through the halls of the capitol. Their message to the governor, “give us a spot on the newly formed stand your ground task force.” The task force was formed after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman’s claims he pulled the trigger in self defense…

‘Presidential’ vs. ‘Political’ Trips: A Blurry Line, and Tricky Math
New York Times
Facing 5000 enthusiastic students at Florida Atlantic University, President Obama rolled up his sleeves and raised his voice to chastise Republicans for their spending cuts and “broken-down theories,” evoking chants of “Four more years! And that was the nonpolitical stop on Mr. Obama’s swing-state itinerary for that day early this month. The president sandwiched the 34-minute speech, billed as an official address on his so-called Buffett Rule for a minimum tax rate for the wealthiest Americans, amid three overtly partisan fund-raisers that accounted for the bulk of his time along the south Florida coast.

FAU president addresses proposed campus closings in memo
Sun-Sentinel (blog)
Florida Atlantic University’s expansive footprint through South Florida and the Treasure Coast will likely get smaller soon, and it’s understandably raising some questions and concerns. University officials announced Thursday a plan to close two of its seven campuses: downtown Fort Lauderdale and Port St. Lucie and stop funding a third, SeaTech in Dania Beach.

Budget woes at Florida Atlantic University could consolidate campuses
As the spring semester winds down, a cloud hangs over Florida Atlantic University. The dilemma – what combination of cuts will make up for a $24.7 million shortfall. On Thursday, the Board of Trustees got a look at what’s on the chopping block. Shutting down the Treasure Coast Campus could save the school $1.7 million. Moving the downtown Fort Lauderdale campus to Boca Raton could save $2 million. Limiting summer courses could save $500,000…

Big colleges, swing states: Obama makes his pitch
San Francisco Chronicle
Obama’s 2012 college campus tour has already included stops at the University of Michigan, the University of Miami, Ohio State University and Florida Atlantic University. Obama has also traveled to community colleges in New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia this year. In another shot at wooing younger voters, Obama will also appear on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” show, to be taped while Obama is North Carolina. Obama’s trip runs Tuesday and Wednesday.

Baby Gator expands to meet growing demand
Gainesville Sun
Facing a waiting list hundreds of parents long, the University of Florida’s Baby Gator child care center is planning new facilities along with a summer program in which some children split time between campus apartments and field trips 

GatorCare swamped by governor
The Florida Current
Rick Scott on late Friday nixed a bill that would have allowed the University of Florida to move its employees out of the state group health insurance plan and develop its own self insured plan called GatorCare. Scott’s Friday veto letter commends the 

USF puts damper on smoking
New limits on smoking are definitely clearing the air at the University of South Florida. But some students who smoke say the new policy has created an “us vs. them” mentality, especially with nonsmokers who push smokers toward designated spots with the tact of a drill sergeant…

USF blooms as a tree-friendly college campus
In its 56-year history, the University of South Florida has earned a reputation as one of the top tree-friendly college campuses in the state. Today, there are 300 new reasons why it deserves such recognition. About 80 USF students, professors and staff members fanned out Friday morning across campus to plant 250 live oaks and 50 cypress trees at eight locations…

State College System

Another South Florida venue. Another Biden visit. (blog)
Joe Biden’s coming to the Everglades on Monday to talk so-called “restoration” plans (aka examples of government spending). Next month, the vice president’s wife, Jill Biden, comes to another South Florida locale, Broward College, to deliver the commencement address.

Edison State College ups recruitment
The News-Press
In the past, Edison State College didn’t have to try very hard to recruit students. They just came…

IRSC might help fill void if FAU closes Port St. Lucie campus this summer
If Florida Atlantic University closes its Port St. Lucie campus this summer, Treasure Coast students might not lose out on baccalaureate degree programs. Indian River State College, which shares the Treasure Coast campus with FAU, is talking with FAU about potentially offering more programs and possibly filling the void if FAU vacates the campus buildings, said IRSC President Edwin Massey.

Driver looses control of her SUV last night
Late Friday night, an unidentified woman accidently drove into a lake along College Lane on the Vero Beach campus of Indian River State College

Independent College and University System

Public hearing Monday on Flagler classroom building
Historic City News
Although former commissioner and mayor Len Weeks sent his approval of the demolition and new design for the Flagler College media building, others have sent their objections to Ordinance No. 2012-07 being heard by the commission Monday evening.

JU to offer master’s of fine arts to visual artists
Florida Times-Union
Jacksonville University is creating a “low-residency” Master of Fine Arts in visual arts. Participants in the program, which starts in the summer of 2013, will take a six-week summer course, have a one-week residency to work with undergraduate students in art, and take two semesters of off-campus instruction. Students will graduate with a degree that qualifies them to teach at the college level.

Stetson gets $5.5M for business, health care scholarships
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Stetson University in DeLand has received $5.5 million in estate gifts to fund scholarships for students majoring in business or preparing for careers in health care. The gifts come from the estates of C. Emory and Jeanne Smith, longtime friends of the university who lived in Orlando. Although the Smiths did not attend Stetson, their niece, Norma Jean Prevatt, was a student at the university for a time in the 1950s. C. Emory Smith was originally from Seville and Jeanne Smith was from the Holopaw/St. Cloud area…

Yip Yap: Noted and Quoted FLHE Voices from Around the State

Editorial: Florida must reverse disinvestment trend in higher education
Bradenton Herald
Tallahassee’s policies on higher education make a mockery of Florida’s commitment to economic competitiveness, business development and job creation. The state’s university and college systems continue to come under fiscal attack from the Legislature despite rising fears that the business community will not be able to find enough qualified graduates to fill critical job openings that require postsecondary degrees…

Editorial: Florida Polytechnic University: Time to Take Action
The Ledger
Gov. Rick Scott established Florida Polytechnic University on Friday by signing Senate Bill 1994. The law, which took effect immediately, created Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland out of the University of South Florida Polytechnic, but also requires USF Poly to continue operation until June 30…

Editorial: Giant tuition hike for students isn’t the answer
Florida’s retreat on investing in public higher education is now crystal clear: For the first time, students at the University of South Florida and other public universities are expected to pay more than half the cost of their education due to …

Bell: Time to Get Past Hard Feelings Related to Florida Polytechnic
The Ledger
A campaign to make the University of South Florida Polytechnic an independent university began last June, and hurtled through the state in a hotly contested, often viral debate. Sen. JD Alexander, the Lake Wales Republican who pushed hard for the plan, …

DiSalvo: How Governor Rick Scott is Sabotaging Florida’s Universities
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the 2012 state budget at aJacksonville elementary school, presumably to emphasize the budget’s inclusion of an additional $1 billion for education. That would be impressive, if not for the fact that last year he cut the state’s education budget by $1.3 billion. That’s like burning down someone’s house, replacing it with the wooden frame of a house and calling it progress…

Henderson: Bully Alexander gets his way on university
Bully 1, Common Sense 0. Actually, it wasn’t as close as the score indicated. State Sen. JD Alexander got what he wanted while everyone else, especially the students of what we’ll have to start calling Florida Polytechnic, got mugged…

McLaren: The most special need is simply acceptance
Florida Times-Union
The program offers those with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to attend the University of North Florida and experience the true college lifestyle. As students, these individuals have the option to audit two classes a semester and besides …

Reed: Checking the politics, paper trail behind new BCC building
Florida Today
Last-minute wheeling and dealing in Tallahassee worked to Brevard County’s favor this year. It produced $14 million from the Legislature for Brevard Community College to buy land and build a training center for police and firefighting students in Viera…

Salzberg: University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets. Hmm.
Wow, no one saw this coming.  The University of Florida announced this past week that it was dropping its computer science department, which will allow it to save about $1.7 million.  The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science, cutting the graduate and research programs entirely, and moving the tattered remnants into other departments…

Schueller: UF getting rid of ‘excess’ faculty
Gainesville Sun
A few years ago, under the pretext of financial exigency, University of Florida administrators tried to fire a few select faculty, many of them tenure track. The administration arbitrarily picked 11 or so faculty specializing 

Accolades abound at banquet for retiring B-CU president
Daytona Beach News-Journal
A “visionary and courageous” president who “raised the bar of excellence” and elevated Bethune-Cookman University‘s status nationally. Those are just a few of the praises Trudie Kibbe Reed received Thursday night at a retirement celebration honoring 

Experts see few barriers to stop people from buying health-care coverage only 
Palm Beach Post
Marlene Mahle teaches a graduate course at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton on the federal health care law under review by the Supreme Court. She does not have to look very far to gain insight into why people might decide not to buy health insurance. Take her own 29-year-old son…

Want to save on your wedding? Don’t have it on Saturday
After facing the sticker shock, families need to figure how much each family member can afford — the groom and his parents may want to contribute beyond the usual rehearsal dinner, said Florida Atlantic University economist William B. Stronge, who took out a home equity loan to help pay for his daughter’s wedding…

Fla. unemployment rate drops to 9 percent
Naples Daily News
“It’s a reflection that we had a really good season, compared to the previous year,” said Gary Jackson, an economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. “Tourism is very strong in Collier and Lee County.”

Professor built business legacy at Florida Tech
Florida Today
Roger Manley has more than three decades of instruction material and experience at Florida Institute of Technology’s School of Business…

Southwest Florida car dealership capitalizes on marketing strategy, professor says
Naples Daily News
Christine Wright-Isak, an associate marketing professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, has heard the same complainants from some of her students. “I told them, ‘Yeah, we’re all annoyed, but we all know the name Fuccillo,’ ” said Wright-Isak

Florida watches as Supreme Court set to hear state of Arizona argue immigration law
Palm Beach Post
“The stakes are high,” said Florida International University law professor and constitutional expert Elizabeth Price Foley. Not only is legal precedent in play, but interaction between police and minorities on U.S. streets – in particular Latinos – also could be affected…

FIU VP named chancellor of UMass Dartmouth
Divina GrossmanFlorida International University’s founding vice president for engagement, will be the new chancellor of UMass Dartmouth. The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees unanimously elected Grossman to the position on 

At Florida International University, GOP hotshot Sen. Marco Rubio is Professor
…These days, the guy at the front of the classroom is getting the double takes. At Florida International University in Miami, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is professor Rubio. He teaches political science on Mondays and Fridays, when the Senate is typically off (a workload that provides its own instruction on how Washington operates)…

D’Alemberte maintaining high legal profile in Fla.
When Gov. Rick Scott and his predecessor, Charlie Crist, overstepped their legal authority, both ran into the same obstacle – Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte. The 78-year-old Florida State University president emeritus and former American Bar Association president won state Supreme Court rulings that stopped both governors in their tracks. Crist tried to circumvent the judicial nominating process for…

FSU history-makers share their stories
Florida State University is celebrating fifty years of integration with a three-day-celebration…Fred Flowers was the first black student to wear an athletic uniform. His sister, Doby Flowers, was the first black Homecoming Queen. Fred Flowers will be recognized on April 20, at 6 p.m. at the Florida State-University of Miami baseball game, where he will throw out the first pitch…

Businesses Charge Hundreds To Remove Mug Shots Online
ABC News
Wayne LoganFlorida State University College of Law’s Gary and Sallyn Pajcic Professor of Law, said there is nothing new about distributing arrest records, which was done through posters from at least the mid-19th century in “rogue’s galleries” or the

Judge lets White attend daughter’s FSU graduation
A judge has granted former Hillsborough County commissioner Kevin White permission to attend his daughter’s graduation from Florida State University while he awaits imprisonment for his federal public corruption …

Temple invites disabled guest for Holocaust Remembrance
Temple Beth El of Boca Raton invited an unusual guest of honor to its Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration next week: Energy Maburutse, a disabled Lynn University student from Zimbabwe…

Grad student’s swordfish study is a first
A Nova Southeastern University graduate student is working on the first scientific study of the movements and survival of juvenile swordfish caught and released in their Florida Straits nursery. Jenny Fenton said it’s too early to draw 

People on the move
Nova Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy appointed Nile M. Khanfar as assistant dean for NSU’s College of Pharmacy at the Palm Beach Gardens Student Educational Center…

Man who stabbed NSU professor and set house on fire with family inside faces
Jurors this week will hear from the prosecution’s star witness: Randy H. Tundidor, 23, who pleaded guilty to reduced charges of second-degree murder in August, and testified that he watched, drug addled, as his father, Randy W. Tundidor, 45, repeatedly stabbed his landlord, Joseph Morrissey, in the stomach and back, then slashed his throat…

Sea turtles, whales deter oil surveys
Florida Today
“Their auditory sense is — as it should be — adapted to vibrations in the water,” said [Llew] Ehrhart, professor emeritus at the University of Central Florida

Risk vs. freedom: Older-driver debate leaves difficult choices
Daytona Beach News-Journal
When it comes to our cognitive abilities and reflexes, humans reach their peak early in life, said Janan Smither, a professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida who specializes in aging…

Florida, Palm Beach County unemployment rates fall, but job creation minimal 
Palm Beach Post
University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith conceded that the state is making progress but said the decline is exaggerated because of people who have given up looking for jobs…

Professor Encourages People to Become More Aware
The Ledger
Paul Doering, professor emeritus at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, speaks about the dangers of underage drinking at a community forum Thursday at Legoland Florida in Winter Haven…

Tourism in Southwest Florida: Industry focuses on sustainability
The News-Press
However, there’s almost no hard data to support that premise, said Taylor Stein, a University of Florida associate professor who recently co-wrote a study of nature-based tour operators in Costa Rica…

Hydrogen could boost gas mileage in cars; UNF prof skeptical
Florida Times-Union
Joe Campbell, a retired University of North Florida mechanical engineering professor who still conducts research, said hydrogen-assisted fuel efficiency systems have been studied for years. He said while the chemistry may sound sophisticated, it is barely more complicated than a high school science class experiment. “What this technology does is take distilled water, put some chemical in it, in this particular case potassium hydroxide and it performs electrolysis on the solution,” Campbell said. “You get hydrogen and oxygen produced, but we all did this in chemistry class when we were in high school.”…

First Coast unemployment rate falls
Florida Times-Union (blog)
University of North Florida economist Paul Mason said the unemployment rate in Duval, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns and Baker counties fell from 8.67 percent in February to 8.4 percent in March. The national rate is 8.3 percent…

City Field Representative Notes Concrete Concerns at New Courthouse
First Coast News
Dr. Adel ElSafty is a professor at the University of North Florida, and a licensed structural engineer. He has, “three professional engineering licenses,” he said. “The initial look at this report, with these pictures of course it is alarming to the general public or alarming to any engineer who is looking at it,” ElSafty said…

So, you think this is all the sun protection you need?
Still, strategic sun avoidance should be your first line of defense, says Dr. Neil Fenske, professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida

Ecological answers in BP spill remain beneath the surface
Houston Chronicle
Steve Murawski, an oceanographer at the University of South Florida who previously served as the chief fisheries scientist at NOAA, said the research also shows the presence of oil in the bile from fish caught in August 2011, a year after the spill …

Who is left behind in Exceptional Student Education inclusion?
Pensacola News Journal
There are benefits of inclusion for students with and without disabilities, said Christine Ogilvie, who teaches in the professional studies department at the University of West Florida. It exposes children without disabilities to diversity, …

Releases and Web Stories

Dr. Jill Biden to Deliver 2012 Commencement Addresses (press release)
Dr. Jill Biden will deliver two commencement addresses this spring at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa. On Friday, May 4, Dr. Biden will address the 77th graduating class at Broward 

Flagler College’s Hotel Ponce de Leon included in ‘Florida Architecture: 100 
ReadMedia (press release)
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (04/20/2012)(readMedia)– The former Hotel Ponce de Leon – the centerpiece of Flagler College in St. Augustine and a National Historic Landmark – won the write-in vote to be included in the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ “Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places” competition…

Kovens Conference Center Hosts the 2012 International Independent Filmmaker Expo
EIN News (press release)
/, Florida — April 19, 2012 — Located at Florida International University‘s Biscayne Bay campus, the award-winning Kovens Conference Center is the hallmark site for the 2012 International Independent Filmmaker Expo, the premier event for those who share the passion of filmmaking in South Florida and around the world. The day of the event is Saturday, April 21 and it showcases Howard Rosenman, Academy Award(R) winning Screenwriter-Producer as The Film Expo’s Key Note Speaker…