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FSU film students: Nobody asked us about leaving West Palm Beach

Students in Florida State University's animation and digital arts program aren't happy that a Board of Governors subcommittee made the recommendation to move them from West Palm Beach to Tallahassee. The 24 students of the program's inagural class sent a letter to Board of Governors Chancellor Frank Brogan on Monday saying they hadn't been asked what they wanted. The letter indicates they would rather stay where they are in South Florida.

A Board of Governors subcommittee decided the program should move after hearing from West Palm Beach and FSU officials on Friday. They heard hours of testimony about why the program should remain in South Florida despite the bankrupcty of major partner Digital Domain.

Ultimately, the three-member panel said it wasn't fair to ask students to pay triple the tuition costs for a program that could work just as well, perhaps even better, in Tallahassee. In their letter, the students said that decision was premature because they have not been consulted.

"The board has seemingly made no effort to understand our curriculum, nor have they reached out to the student body, yet a verdict was assigned 'in our best interest,'" they wrote. "We request that you speak to us personally before a final decision is made by the Board of Governors."

The full board is expected to take up the committee's recommendation on Feb. 21. FSU President Eric Barron has said he will abide by whatever the Board of Governors decides.

Brogan responded to the students today with a letter of his own. It starts out with tough words for the Digital Domain partnership. 

"Four years ago, Florida unfortunately made a bad bet," Brogan wrote. "It invested $20 million in the promises of a California film company in what is now regarded as one of the worst economic disasters this state has ever seen. And despite good intentions, one of our state universities was tangled up in the mess."

Brogan said the intentions of the Digital Domain partnership were good, but it's time for a fresh start in Tallahassee. He expressed certainty that the full board, as well as FSU, will go ahead with the plan to relocate the students to the main campus.

"It may be difficult at this point to absorb, but trust that a tremendous amount of time, energy and research went into this decision," Brogan wrote. "We will work with each of you to ensure that you are able to continue your studies without upheaval. We have no doubts you will succeed, just as we have no doubts that FSU’s world-class film school in Tallahassee will continue to flourish as it has for more than 20 years."

Download FSU Letter to Brogan

Download Brogan Letter to FSU