A discussion of the 2008 budget sparked an angry exchange between Board of Governors member Dr. Zach Zachariah and University of Central Florida President John Hitt. Zachariah, who has voiced concerns in the past about opening new medical schools at UCF and Florida International University, contended that university leaders, and their consultants hired to pitch new med schools, should have anticipated that the start-up costs for the schools would rise. In August the two schools reported new standards would require them to have an $110 million more in their first decade of operations.
"There's absolutely no defense, or excuse,'' said Zachariah, a cardiologist who is also a high-powered GOP donor. "All they are trying to do is a snow job."
Hitt lashed back at having his "integrity" attacked. "I think we need to start looking at facts and not listen to unsupported allegations,'' said Hitt, adding that both schools have already started spending millions to bring the med schools to fruition. "This is not a project you can turn a tap on or off for. I can hardly imagine any good purpose that can be served by further bickering."