Dale Whittaker, UCF’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, sent this update to the campus community on Tuesday evening, June 23.
Earlier today, Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed nearly $500 million from the state budget. Included in those vetoes were funds for several UCF projects, including UCF Downtown.
While we are disappointed, we are not giving up. And we’re thankful for the groundswell of support from local and state leaders who remain confident in our plans to build this campus.
Together with Valencia College and the City of Orlando, we will determine our next steps, then share them in the next several weeks.
With our partners — and the 150-plus members of our UCF Downtown Task Force — we have planned a campus that will provide our community access to first-class education, prepare our workforce of tomorrow and invest in the transformational future of our city and the Parramore community.
Today, Gov. Scott also vetoed funding for:
— UCF’s high-tech manufacturing research center for sensors in Osceola County, which is a partnership between educational institutions, industry and government;
— and, the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities, which would provide parents of students with intellectual disabilities with information about programs and opportunities throughout the state.
Despite the veto, our pilot program for students with intellectual disabilities will still begin this fall on our main campus. This program will allow a select number of students to earn meaningful higher education credentials that will prepare them for more employment opportunities and fully participate in college life — living in dorms, joining clubs and making friends with their peers.
UCF projects approved in the state budget signed by Gov. Scott are:
— nearly $15 million in new funds based on UCF’s academic performance, its students’ graduation and retention rates, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded, among other metrics set by the Florida Board of Governors;
— and, $20 million for the Partnership Complex in the Central Florida Research Park, which will help to permanently house Department of Defense and UCF simulation and training organizations, contributing to one of our state’s largest industries.
I echo President Hitt and many others at UCF in our sincere appreciation for your support and the efforts of those across Central Florida to advance these projects. We know they are important to students, our economy and the community, and we will continue working on moving them forward.