By Sylvia Gurinsky
Where was the Florida Legislature all those years when people were crying for an increase in the quality of the state university system? Now, when most Floridians can't afford it, they want to give schools the right to hike tuition by as much as 15 percent.
Their timing and their political instinct both stink.
Yes, there needs to be more quality in Florida's 10 universities now that people need them more than ever because of the economic crisis. But there also needs to be a way to protect deserving people who want to go to those schools, but can't afford it. Not everyone gets financial aid.
Wait a minute. Whoever will be the new president of my alma mater, Florida International University, will get plenty of financial aid - a salary somewhere between $500,000 and $600,000 - when students who are potential future university presidents, scientists, doctors, governors, teachers and so forth can't string together $4,000 in a semester to pay for 12 credits.
Talk about inequality.
Here's a thought: Governor Charlie Crist, who likes to tread carefully, should call on several of his predecessors - Bob Graham, Reubin Askew, Bob Martinez and Jeb Bush - to form a panel and put together a report of specific needs for schools and prospective students.
Florida's university system, what it needs and how deserving students can be supported all deserve careful study that can't and won't be accomplished in the two-months of hijinks that make up a legislative session.