UCF students’ future at stake amidst scandal


photo by UCF.edu

UCF has misused $85 million in the last decade. President Dale Whittaker resigned as a result.

As graduation is quickly approaching, many students are looking forward to moving off to college to begin their adult life, while others are looking forward to staying home and going to Seminole State College or UCF…which may turn out to be more complicated than they think.

UCF has recently been accused by the state government of misusing $85 million in government funding over the last decade. They have rebuilt their multi-story library, renovated and built other buildings, and even had plans to build a lazy-river and a hotel for their student athletes, but none of those plans were approved. UCF was supposed to use the money to pay teachers but instead the put that aside for campus beautification. These accusations are not affecting seniors like Daniela Castro though.

“I am still UCF bound and I’m super excited to be attending,” Castro said.

The state government was deliberating the issue and was about to reach a solution when UCF president Dale Whittaker resigned. The resignation put off the solution to a later date and state representative Randy Fine even suggested just shutting the school down altogether and announced he had been working on a 5-10 year university shutdown plan, but later claimed he was just joking. While that is what might normally happen to any business, the solution is simply not feasible. UCF is home to over 60,000 students, the second largest university in the nation, and half of the homes on Lockwood Blvd. are on UCF’s power and water line. Alumni like athletic director Jay Getty, believe that shutting down the university is a bad idea.

“Any situation where you are shutting down one of the largest groupings of students in the country because of the decision of a small group of people, places the blame on everyone instead of the individuals at fault,” Getty said.

Many people propose just firing the people at fault, which is exactly the alternative the government is deliberating; firing the entire administrative staff unless a culprit is found, but that is where things get complicated. If they find the person responsible, and the money was used for personal gain, the person will be arrested on a felony charge and face serious jail time. The main person in question right now is Whittaker, who has been accused of misusing $35 million of the $85 million in his short seven-month reign as president. The government has not been able to prove anyone guilty but instead made the university repay all the money, which they did.

Another theory according to the Orlando Sentinel, is that the government does not really care at all about how they spent the money. They are using this instance as a case to flog the privatized industry of higher education. The senators simply do not like how much it costs, they would prefer to slash budgets so they have more money to add to their pay checks. That is why after the president resigned, and the university has lost a lot of credentials and reputation and had to repay the money, the senators are still out for blood.

“I don’t believe they would shut down UCF,” campus administrator Rob Sauvao said. “Too many people’s lives are at stake.”

For now it seems that UCF will remain open as a school and will continue to win football conference championships. This scandal has seem to have had minimal impact on the community and the seniors planning on attending for the next four years.

“This situation does not change my opinion of the school at all, it is still an amazing school,” Getty said.