Classes could cease at Sea Tech campus in June

Dylan Bouscher

The Sea Tech campus in Dania Beach could be a casualty of the budget cuts. The Board of Trustees will vote in June to stop funding classes so the facility can support itself through more research. Photo courtesy of Media Relations.

Class could be cancelled for good at FAU’s Sea Tech research facility in Dania Beach.

When Florida cut $300 million from the state university system earlier this year, FAU absorbed a $24 million budget cut. Now, administrators are considering whether any classes should be offered at Sea Tech, or if the campus should support itself by focusing on research and earning grants.

The Board of Trustees is set to vote on this in June.

If the BOT votes to stop offering classes at Sea Tech, the 61 students on the campus will be forced to start attending class at the Davie, Boca or Harbor Branch campuses.

Each campus is 10, 29 and 115 miles away from Sea Tech, respectively.

Faculty and their research projects are getting reassigned and relocated along with students at Sea Tech, according to an FAQ about the budget cut proposals. The FAQ was answered by the university’s Office of Financial Affairs. What will happen to the five administrators was not answered. “Staff members,” one answer reads, “if qualified, will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other FAU campuses.”

Dennis Crudele, the senior vice president of financial affairs first told the UP about Sea Tech’s possible class cut in late February. “If there’s a lot of research going on there, and that’s all you’re doing,” he said. “then the research has to pay for the campus.”

In March, the Provost’s Office asked faculty what could be done to deal with the budget cuts. By the end of the month, over 200 responded. “Many suggested closing Dania Beach,” according to a summary of what faculty suggested.

During the spring semester, the campus hosted 13 classes, not including theses and dissertations. If the BOT does vote to suspend classes, Sea Tech will no longer receive general revenue funding from the university. Since $459,505 of the university’s general revenue fund went to the campus this year, Crudele expects it will need the same amount to stay afloat next year.

The reason for classes ceasing at Sea Tech is also explained in the FAQ. “Protecting services to students,” is given as a main objective of the cost-cutting proposals. According to the page, the university also expects “to grow science initiatives and business partnerships throughout its service area.”

One way the university could be doing that, is by not allowing the BOT to defund its research facility in Dania Beach.

The Board of Trustees is set to vote on this in June. The UP will keep you posted as more information becomes available.