House Speaker Will Weatherford said discussion about a Senate proposal to divide the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering into separate programs should involve the state Board of Governors. The House has yet to agree to include money in the final budget for the split, and the decision may ultimately rest with Weatherford himself.
"I would say that both (Florida State University) and (Florida A&M University) have very good points to be made," Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said. "I would also say that the Board of Governors has a role to play in this conversation. I don’t think the Florida House is in a rush to do anything."
Weatherford's brother played football at FSU and his father-in-law is chairman of the school's Board of Trustees. But the House speaker has not indicated whether he will ultimately side with FSU supporters in granting the request from powerful Sen. John Thrasher to give FSU $13 million to begin establishing its own engineering program separate from FAMU.
Weatherford noted the oversight role of the state Board of Governors and said its wishes should be considered as budget talks continue.
"My goal is that whatever takes place, whether it’s a conversation driven by the Board of Governors or the Legislature, that FAMU is unharmed, and that Florida State is unharmed," he said. "That there’s a way to do this that’s amicable, a way that both universities can flourish, in a way that both universities can provide high quality engineering degrees for their students."