Food Fight at the College Children’s Table

27 01 2007

Who this sounds like – institutional Big Daddies whose only function is to do the carving, all jockeying to stand at the head of the biggest BIG table posing as the biggest turkey. To them it’s clearly not about the quality or preparation of food being served, or all the hungry women and children who do the real work but are eating scraps in the kitchen and wondering why these guys have taken their rightful places!

And no one anywhere in this discussion has one seat of honor at the table for the patrons, the public without whose money, all these glam “public” feasts couldn’t exist. Nope, it’s all about the institutional daddies armed with skewers and carving knives, claiming we need to learn some table manners and just be grateful for whatever they bless and pass around on our plates . . .

The idea of turning four to six state universities into colleges granting only bachelor’s degrees provoked an intellectual food fight at the Florida Board of Governors meeting Wednesday . . .”It’s going to take one hell of carrot for an institution sitting at the adult table to sit at the children’s table,” said University of West Florida President John Cavanaugh.

It became the most hotly debated issue in a consultant’s report released last week that is the board’s first step toward a long-term vision of where to take 11 state universities.

Stephen Portch of Pappas Consulting Group advised handing out financial incentive “carrots” to persuade some universities to take this option. He also said Florida needs only two or three world-class research universities, and funding even that many is “going to be a real challenge.”

“The carrot to get UCF interested in this will fail the steroid test,” reacted University of Central Florida President John Hitt, whose school made a list of “natural choices” to become a bachelor’s-degree state college because it is 87-percent undergraduates . .