Florida Presidents' Plea: Save Our Funding; the Higher Ed Titans Have Joined Forces to Market Their Message

Article excerpt

The presidents of Florida's public universities are pumping up the volume on their funding pleas. In a rare move, which they are calling a grassroots advocacy effort, the 11 presidents representing Florida State University, the University of Florida, and other institutions are banding together to fight for money.

This group--whose members usually compete at the state level for funding--have formed a united front in the form of a marketing and promotional blitz, which was launched in mid-October. The initiative, called Q&A for "quality and access," has created public service TV announcements, a Web site (www.qualityandaccess.org), and a strategic plan for presidents to place op-ed pieces in major daily newspapers throughout the state.

The message is targeted to the state legislators who control the purse strings and the voters who elect them. The content is clear: Give us more money.

T.K. Wetherell, president of FSU and a former state representative, notes that Florida's public universities have suffered $484 million in budget cuts since 1990 and that spending per student has fallen 16 percent during the past four years. …