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PRESS RELEASE

March 20, 2006

Bill Edmonds
Director of Communications

(850) 245-0466

Board of Governors chair, Chancellor issue statement on court order ratifying board's authority

Board of Governors Chair Carolyn Roberts and Chancellor Mark B. Rosenberg today commended the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court for affirming the responsibilities of the Board of Governors in providing leadership and governance for the State University System of Florida.

"Friday's court order by Judge Janet Ferris clarifies that responsibility for the public universities lies with the Board of Governors and the university boards of trustees," Roberts said. "The court clearly recognizes the exclusive role of the Board of Governors in governance of the State University System."

Rosenberg stated that the State University System and Florida's community colleges and public schools share many common interests and would continue to build on a longstanding partnership of cooperation. "Our universities and the community colleges put the best interests of students first – that's how it has been in the past and how it will be in the future," he said. "Judge Ferris' order doesn't change that. And both systems rely on a strong system of K-12 schools."

Roberts said the court order, which ratified an agreement reached by the parties to the lawsuit, was aligned with the Florida Constitution. "The court order reinforces what was already stated clearly in the constitutional amendment approved by the voters of this state — that the Board of Governors has authority over the public universities, and that responsibility is not shared with any other board."

Roberts said the Board of Governors could now focus on strengthening its relationship with the Florida Legislature. "The Board of Governors fully recognizes the role of the Legislature in providing education for the citizens of this state, and that includes higher education. We have a respectful partnership with the Legislature, and that will never change."

The Legislature was not a party to the lawsuit, filed in December 2004 by Floridians for Constitutional Integrity against the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education. A copy of the March 17 order of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court is available at the http://www.flbog.org/bog_news/PDF/CourtOrderMarch_17_06.pdf.

The Board of Governors is the constitutional body created by voters in 2002 to provide leadership and guidance for the State University System of Florida.