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Sen. Alexander and USF Pres. Genshaft to face off

UPDATE: The meeting will no longer be open to the public. We suspect that the other senators, Norman and Joyner, may have volunteered to bow out of the meeting so it would not have to be open according to constitutional rules. Sen. Alexander's office says he will hold a news conference at 3 p.m., after meeting with Genshaft privately. 

In just a couple hours, the two main players in the USF Polytechnic drama, which came to a head last week after the Senate budget recommended cutting USF's funding more than any other university, are finally meeting face-to-face to try to sort through the conflict. The discussion between USF President Judy Genshaft and Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, is the first meeting of the two in months.

Alexander, himself, admitted he can be stubborn, in a Times story published Sunday. Whether Genshaft has tried to get together sooner is anyone's guess. When she came to Tallahassee last week, she did not.

Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, who put the meeting together, said he's hopeful the two can come to an understanding about a more fair budget cut in light of a bill that would immediately split off the USF Poly campus with all of its assets, property and appropriated funds. It was part of a compromise Alexander offered last week, when hediscarded of an idea to hold $25 million hostage pending USF's cooperation in making sure that new university, Florida Polytechnic, gets all USF Poly's resources.

If Norman and Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa who also supports USF getting a more fair cut, stay in the room, the state constitution says the meeting must be open to the public. We'll be there with our fingers crossed.