Students Hope FSU Officials Do Not Close Panama City Campus

By: Kristy Wolski Email
By: Kristy Wolski Email

Florida State University Panama City could close in January if the Florida Legislature adopts the worst case scenario budget. Students say it would be devastating.

"I love it here, it's nice. Small classes, the teachers are good," said Christina Libby, FSU Panama City Student.

"I'm in classes with those who are 30, 40 and they're trying to get higher education. With that they're trying to get more opportunities and more money and it being Panama City. It's just not going to be good. They're definitely going to be in shock," said Danielle Ephraim, FSU Panama City Masters Student.

The closure will only occur under the budget the House of Representatives has adopted, which cuts 78 million dollars from Florida State University. The Senate's budget is much less severe, at 28 million. FSU Panama City Dean Dr. George DePuy says he believes lawmakers will find a compromise to save the campus.

"No one wants to see their taxes increased, but no one wants to see the University's devastated. So that's what these legislators are supposed to do is resolve these sort of problems," said Dr. George DePuy, F.S.U. Panama City Dean.

Around 400 students graduate from FSU Panama City each year and of those Dean Depuy says approximately 85% enter the workforce here in Northwest Florida, so that shows how significant the campus is on the local economy. 30 faculty and approximately 110 staff members would also lose their jobs if the campus closes.

"It would be a tremendous blow to the employers in the area and the economy in this area if anything bad were to happen to FSU Panama City," said Dr. DePuy.

The Legislature has a few weeks left to finalize the budget, and let Florida State University know what funds they have to work with. At that point FSU President T.K. Wetherell and the Board of Trustees will make a final decision on the budget cuts.

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