Alexander cancels meeting after making universities scurry
University officials across the state gave up their vacations, worked overtime and generally threw themselves into fulfilling a massive data request from state Sen. JD Alexander last month. He needed the information fast he said because his Senate Budget Committee wanted time to analyze it before a Jan. 13 meeting. The answers, delivered on time last week, covered 5,000 pages. And Alexander’s reponse: "Nevermind."The meeting set for Friday the 13th has been cancelled. People were already peeved by the massive last-minute request. Now you can imagine what they’re saying. This whole thing spiraled from Alexander’s fight with USF over his desire to make USF Polytechnic an independent university. And that seemed obvious when the leader of a key education committee, state Rep. Bill Proctor, wrote the university presidents a letter last week with a less inquisition-type tone. Proctor invited them for what sounded like a grown-up, collegial discussion of how to best serve their students. Despite the trouble Alexander caused everyone who had to scurry to meet his demands, the new chairman of the Board of Governors, Dean Colson, sounds unruffled. This comes from Board of Governors spokeswoman Kelly Layman: "Chair Colson has talked with Sen. Alexander on a great many issues this past year in his service as Vice Chair and as the legislative point person for the Board. Chair Colson believes that we can continue to work cooperatively with the Legislature in order to achieve outcomes for both the existing and new accountability and performance metrics we have put in place, while not decreasing student access to our public universities."