- Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed former House Speaker Jose Oliva to the Board of Governors of the State University System on Wednesday
- Subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate, Oliva will serve the position for seven years
- While in the Florida House, Oliva placed a focus on cutting down university spending, going so far as to threaten to reform the higher education budget
- Oliva also passed a bill that allows military service members to earn postsecondary credit for college-level training and education acquired in the military
Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed former state Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to the Board of Governors of the State University System on Wednesday, subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
During his time in the Florida Capitol, Oliva was noted for this attempts to cut down on university spending, threatening to overhaul the higher education budget after it was found that several major state schools misused state budget-allocated funds for construction projects.
“There have been great excesses within the system and a propensity to fill the campuses, build new buildings and grow higher and higher paid administrative staff,” said Oliva in a 2020 speech to the state House of Representatives.
In order to address any expenditure problems, Oliva pushed for legislation to change the procedure universities must follow when requesting funding for new building projects.
“Each new building will require a space-utilization study to justify its need,” Oliva said, as reported by News Service of Florida in 2019. “Every building will require a down payment as well as an escrow account to ensure its future maintenance.”
Though this legislation was not achieved, it planted the seeds for future lawmakers to examine state public university spending more closely.
Oliva’s announcement yesterday afternoon was concurrent to a memo made public by the Office of the Governor stating that all State University System members are now required to report expenditures and resources utilized for campus activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory.
As a representative, Oliva also passed HB 171, which required the Board of Governors to adopt regulations to create a process that allowed military service members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces to earn uniform postsecondary credit or career education clock hours across all Florida public postsecondary educational institutions for college-level training and education acquired in the military.
In 2020, the Oliva-led House also passed SB 7030, implementing the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission.
The Board of Governors is comprised of seventeen members, fourteen of whom are appointed by the Florida Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate for a term of seven years.
The remaining members include the Chair of the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates, the Commissioner of Education, and the Chair of the Florida Student Association.
The Board oversees the operation and management of the Florida public university system’s twelve institutions.