Last week, The University of Florida announced that it would be eliminating the computer science department, for a savings of $1.7 million per year. Meanwhile, the school’s athletic budget went up to $99 million dollars per year — an increase of $2 million.
Forbes contributer Steven Salzberg is quick to point out that this isn’t a straight swap. In other words, no one cut computer science classes so that the football team could shower in gold-infused Gatorade. Still, it’s a weird move backward during a time when computer science degrees are increasingly valuable.
Ironically, Florida governor Rick Scott recently signed off on a new university focusing purely on science and technology. Florida Polytechnic University was created specifically to cater to this growing segment of the workforce.
“At a time when the number of graduates of Florida’s universities in the STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields is not projected to meet workforce needs, the establishment of Florida Polytechnic University will help us move the needle in the right direction,” Scott said.
Salzberg points the finger of blame at Florida legislators, who cut over 30 percent of The University of Florida’s budget. Computer science classes will be partially absorbed by other departments. Meanwhile, students have organized to create a website protesting the decision.
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