The board of trustees meeting provided a forum for new Interim President Henry Lewis III to share his vision for a better university and to unveil the proposed timeline for the presidential search.
Lewis said he wants to enhance FAMU’s image campus-wise, community-wise and legislative-wise.
Being “customer-friendly” was one goal he emphasized. Lewis said he called 36 offices on campus and only 55 percent answered in a manner he thought was appropriate.
“Most people first hear of our university through our website or telephone communication, and therefore it is important that our staff be friendly, cheerful and knowledgeable,” Lewis said.
Talking with faculty members Lewis reported that technology was a major concern while financial aid problems plagued most students he spoke with. Lewis said net checks would be sent out by today.
“These checks affect students’ academic progress because they can’t pay for their books and rent,” Lewis said.
Budget cuts, totaling $5.5 million for FAMU, was a major concern among trustees.
“The cuts will not adversely impact academic progress or personnel,” Lewis reassured.
Student Government Association President Andrew Gillum, a trustee, asked if summer school would be suspended because of budget cuts.
“There may have to be some cuts in summer offerings, but there will be a summer session for students,” Lewis answered.
The board of trustees approved an annual $197, 500 salary for Lewis as compensation for his serving time, a $20,000 housing allowance, a $1,000 car allowance per month and eligibility for a two-semester sabbatical within one year that his term is over. The board also approved an annuity equal to 12 percent of Lewis’s salary.
After opening comments from Lewis, search committee vice-chairman Randall Hanna provided the board with a perspective timeline for selecting the next university president.
Heidrick & Struggles, the Atlanta-based firm hired to help find the next university president, will send a portfolio of all 14 applicants to the search committee.
The search committee, comprised of trustees Gillum, Randall, Wilbert Bryant, Marta Prado, Norma White and William Jennings serving as chairman, will narrow the list of candidates down to no more than 10.
The committee will then meet again to choose no more than five but no less than