According to UF’s Dean Abernathy, cutting computer science will save nearly $1.7 million. But at what cost?
Technology is changing. Jobs are changing. And the students that emerge from the University of Florida are going to be less prepared than their peers. This decision makes absolutely no sense. Steven Salzberg makes this interesting comparison:
The athletic budget for the current year is $99 million, an increase of more than $2 million from last year. The increase alone would more than offset the savings supposedly gained by cutting computer science.
Now, I’m not saying that UF has chosen football over science. Actually, the real villains here are the Florida state legislators, who have cut the budget for their flagship university by 30% over the past 6 years.
Fortunately, UF students aren’t taking the decision lightly. They have launched a website dedicated to saving the department, organized protests, and many computer scientists have written to UF’s president.
If you’re thinking that this couldn’t get more ridiculous, it does. Last Friday, Florida governor Rick Scott approved the creation of a brand-new public university, Florida Polytechnic University, announcing:
“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.”
Note to Scott: Cutting the computer science department from your flagship university makes it seem like STEM education is not exactly a priority. And students deserve better.