Florida A&M University officials say it will cost more than $100 million to split the school’s engineering college if the contentious proposal is approved by the Florida Legislature — and the state could risk federal intervention if it isn’t handled properly.
The warnings to state leaders come as Senate Republicans lend their support to a proposal to separate the engineering college now run jointly with Florida State University. They have put $13 million in the budget to help pay for it. FSU officials are backing the plan in order to help the school’s national profile.
Those connected to FAMU — the state’s lone historically black public college — are steadfastly opposed to the proposal. FAMU supporters in the Legislature have compared it to a past move by the state to shutter FAMU’s law school in the 1960s. That decision was reversed in 2000.
School officials say if the divorce between FSU and FAMU is pursued, it will take a large amount of state money to make it successful. They suggested a five-year phase-in with the money coming in over the next two years.
FAMU officials have presented a lengthy outline to State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser indicating that more than $100 million would be needed to make it happen. A big part of that money would go to a new facility on FAMU’s campus. The current joint college is adjacent to a Tallahassee research park. In a statement, a FAMU spokeswoman said university officials developed the outline to show “the impact a separation would entail.” Read Full