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Marshall: State needs more undergraduate colleges


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More state leaders viewing us as one of the three "senior institutions in Florida"


Former Florida State University President J. Stanley Marshall said Wednesday the state needs more undergraduate colleges but can't afford many more major research and graduate campuses like Florida State, South Florida and the University of Florida.

Marshall, a member of the Board of Governors, also said in a luncheon speech to the Capital City Republican Club that university presidents will always push for law schools, medical schools and other academic trophies. Influential alumni, including powerful legislative leaders, will always turn them into political plums, he said.


Marshall cast the lone dissenting vote when the BOG approved new medical schools at the University of Central Florida and Florida International University.

''We have three so-called senior institutions in Florida -- the University of Florida, Florida State and the University of South Florida -- which are leading institutions for graduate studies and research,'' he said. ''We also have about four universities right now who would like to join that group.''

But he said no state except California has more than four ''senior institutions.'' Marshall said he was glad to see at least five community colleges planning baccalaureate programs because Floridians need more access at the four-year level.

''The whole question of whether we have three or four major, senior universities, or six or seven, is to be debated very much by the Board of Governors and considered by the people,'' said Marshall. ''I do not think Florida can justify, and indeed cannot afford, six or seven major senior universities.''

BOG Chairwoman Carolyn Roberts, contacted in Ocala, said the board ''needs to provide leadership on how the university system will look'' in the future. She praised Marshall's 50-year involvement in Florida education.

''If funding were no issue, we'd have at least one and maybe two more baccalaureate institutions in Florida,'' she said. ''I believe we need at least one.''

Marshall said the BOG has more power than university governing boards in other states but the board hasn't flexed its muscle very often. He said he supports the board's plan to raise university tuition -- in defiance of the Legislature -- and welcomed a lawsuit filed by ex-U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and others seeking to clarify the board's powers.

The BOG has joined as a plaintiff in the suit.

''I can understand why legislators are very much concerned about letting somebody other than themselves set tuition,'' Marshall said. ''I happen to be one who believes that we need higher tuition in Florida and that the Board of Governors ought to have the right to set tuition in Florida.''

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