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Did college student predict JD Alexander's actions? | News

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Did college student predict JD Alexander's actions?

SARASOTA, Florida -- The proposal to cut the University of South Florida's budget by 58% has shocked a lot of people in the Tampa Bay area, including community leaders.

But not one particular student.

In some ways, Michael Long, a sophomore at the New College of Florida, saw this coming months ago.

"I knew it was going to get spicy," he said Monday.

Long, the lone student on the Florida Board of Governors, called out Sen. JD Alexander (R-Lake Wales) during a November meeting, where the board was debating whether to make USF-Polytech an independent school.

Long warned Alexander might play a drastic card.

"I do not feel very well represented by JD," he said, "he told me personally that he would quit fighting for higher education if he didn't get what he wanted on this issue."

Long says he had no idea a massive budget cut would be put on the table, but he could tell the senator may use his power.

"I did feel that way.  I think a lot of other people felt that way.  But I don't think we could have predicted this in November."

Alexander has said USF can withstand the budget cut, because the school has deep financial reserves.

As far as the senator's push to split USF-Polytech, Long says he doesn't necessarily disagree that it could be beneficial in the long run. But the Board of Governors voted that in order to do that, strict benchmarks would have to be met.

He says Alexander is trying to go around the board.

"The way it's being done is dirty politics, in my opinion," Long said.

The Board of Governors is scheduled to have a conference call Tuesday morning, where the budget cuts are expected to be addressed.


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