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Board votes today on chiropractic school

Associated Press
Published January 27, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State University's president has quietly been backing the attempt to open a chiropractic program at his school and has ached for a showdown with the statewide board that could decide its fate today, e-mails show.

President T.K. Wetherell has been atypically reticent about publicly stating whether he supports the proposed chiropractic program, which would be the first at a U.S. public university.

But e-mails he exchanged last fall with a newspaper editor show he authorized a search for a dean and two other positions for the program before the Board of Governors raised questions about it and before FSU's faculty senate was asked to consider it.

The governors, who oversee the state's 11 public universities, are expected to vote today in Gainesville whether to authorize the chiropractic school. It is being opposed by FSU faculty members, including some from its medical school, who consider chiropractic medicine to be quackery and unworthy of a postgraduate program.

"It will be fun (to) watch them (the governors) try and impound money that they don't have or control," Wetherell wrote in an Oct. 6 e-mail to the editorial page editor for the Tallahassee Democrat, Mary Ann Lindley. "I hope (the Board of Governors) tries to stop us."

Wetherell, who was an outspoken Florida House speaker in 1991 and 1992, also wrote, "I thought it was going to be a boring fall, but this is my kind of stuff."

The e-mails to Lindley were in response to questions raised by E.T. York, the former university chancellor for Florida. York helped push the 2002 constitutional amendment that created the Board of Governors.

The vote on the chiropractic school will be the first serious show of force since the Board of Governors was formed two years ago as the result of a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters. Then-U.S. Sen. Bob Graham pushed for the amendment after the Legislature abolished the Board of Regents.

The decision could start a lengthy tug of war between the Legislature and the Board of Governors over who controls what in the state's higher education system.

[Last modified January 27, 2005, 00:41:13]

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