The Senate has approved Sen. JD Alexander's vision to immediately create the state's 12th university out of the University of South Florida's branch campus in Lakeland.
Alexander's plan short-cuts a plan already laid out by the Florida Board of Governors to allow USF Polytechnic to split off. The BOG voted in November to allow the campus to do that only after meeting certain benchmarks, including accreditation, increased enrollment and construction of several buildings on its new greenfield campus site in Lakeland.
Students, faculty and even Gov. Rick Scott question the wisdom of veering from that path. Yet, in a lengthy, impassioned speech, Alexander insisted that his way was the right way.
The bill passed 35 to 4.