Fred Grimm

Florida governor wants Yale, but we’ll take the kid quarterback

Yale University Environmental Science Center; New Haven, Connecticut — entry tower.
Yale University Environmental Science Center; New Haven, Connecticut — entry tower. Architectural Se

Gov. Rick Scott has invited Yale University to relocate from New Haven to a tax haven. Retire to Florida, Scott suggested to the triple-centenarian university, and make out like a bandit.

Lest Yale trustees doubt Florida’s zealous dedication to exposing youngsters to higher education, they can find living proof just 37 miles down Connecticut Highway 15.

Scott’s attempt to steal 314-year-old Yale from Connecticut came on Tuesday, exactly one day after a famous Florida educational institution was doing some poaching of its own in nearby New Caanan.

Florida State University offered a scholarship to a 15-year-old Connecticut eighth-grader named Drew Pyne. The child scholar, of course, is a quarterback. Drew may be young, but down here in Florida, we believe it’s never too early to start molding a youngster’s character. We could make him into the next Jameis Winston.

Besides, the Yale Bulldogs, who won only three football games last fall in the Ivy League, could learn something about educational priorities by moving to Florida.

Gov. Scott has spent considerable energy trying to lure corporations from other states to low-tax Florida, with raiding forays into Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut. He sent letters to CEOs at Facebook, Apple and Google urging them to relocate. The governor managed to persuade Hertz to abandon New Jersey for Estero (with the help of incentive money), but apparently other corporate entities contemplated our low taxes and decided you get what you pay for.

Filching another state’s university was something new. But Scott figured he could exploit a proposal in the Connecticut Legislature to levy a 7 percent tax on Yale’s $25.6 billion endowment.

Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.

Gov. Rick Scott in 2011

Yale, however, should weigh the tax savings against Florida’s notorious aversion to liberal arts and other frothy educational pursuits. Yale, for instance, has an anthropology department that has been cranking out research projects since 1866. Back in 2011, as Gov. Scott explained his plans for revamping state colleges, he famously asked, “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.”

Others in Florida’s political hierarchy have been similarly dismissive of egghead majors. State Sen. Don Gaetz once objected to funding state universities “when the No. 1 degree is psychology and the No. 2 degree is political science.” Gaetz said he opposed “sending graduates out with degrees that don’t mean much.”

Former Gov. Jeb Bush similarly complained about psychology during his failed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, warning psych majors, “You’re going to be working at Chick-fil-A.” Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio was going after philosophy majors. “Welders make more money than philosophers,” Rubio said.

The fact-checking site Politifact, however, found philosophy grads’ average mid-career pay is $85,000 per year, twice what a welder makes. A professor in Yale’s prestigious philosophy department, ranked sixth in the English speaking world by Philosophical Gourmet Report, makes about $200,000 a year.

It doesn’t matter. Yale can move to Florida, but we won’t tolerate any damn philosophizing.

By the way, Philosophical Gourmet ranks FSU’s philosophy department 45th in the U.S. No doubt that’s why eighth-graders in Connecticut find Florida so alluring.

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