Next week, the five FAMU presidential finalists will be on campus, available for questions from students, faculty, alumni and all other concerned parties.
On the surface, with the presidential search now in its eighth month, it would appear all pertinent questions regarding the FAMU presidency have been asked.
Still, since the candidates are here, it might not hurt to ask some of the following questions:
Does it bother you that the lack of a deadline for submitting applications for the presidency? Do you feel that reflects a lack of confidence in your credentials?
Have you wondered why the applicant pool was so small?
You’ve said you wanted to bring change to FAMU. (Every candidate has, in one way or another.) Who would you bring in and who would you fire? If the candidate answers “nobody” counter with the follow-up… So, how are you so certain everyone is pulling their weight at the university?
Have you already been told, or has it been subtly suggested that some people at the university cannot be let go?
Have you noticed how many administrators are on the payroll at FAMU? Do you know what they are paid annually? Does it seem like a lot for the work they do? Does it seem like there are too many administrators and not enough faculty? Or do the numbers seem just right in each category? Do you know what administrators’ jobs entail?
Will the deans be required to tender letters of resignation, as is often done at other universities during presidential changeovers? If not, why not? How many letters will you accept? Will dismissed deans simply be let go, or will they be shuffled to a classroom and inflicted on students?
If student enrollment is allowed to increase every year, how can the university keep up in terms of providing basic services such as housing, parking, prompt disbursement of financial aid, etc.? Would you consider a cap on enrollment?
Will net checks continue to be distributed as quickly as they were this semester? In some detail, explain how you plan to continue this fine new tradition. Will you demonstrate a commitment to sound financial management by conducting independent audits of every department on campus? Will you bring in outside investigators, if necessary, to look into any alleged financial improprieties committed by any university employee during the Humphries presidency? Has anyone broached this topic with you?
Will foreign post docs be encouraged to work at FAMU, particularly in the science labs? Will you ensure their paperwork is processed in the timeliest manner, so they can enter the country and free up professors to raise grant money and teach, which ultimately benefit the students? Has anyone raised this issue with you?
Have you talked to any faculty at FAMU? Did you realize that some faculty have to pay out of pocket to attend scholastic conferences designed to sharpen their teaching skills and improve their chances of obtaining tenure? Is that customary at universities you’ve served at?
Do you think the band hazes? How much revenue does the band bring into the university? Have you looked at the figures? Do you think you could do anything to deter hazing, if it occurs, short of a drastic penalty, like say a multi-year suspension of an offending organization? What if a Greek organization, like say…I don’t know… the Alphas, got caught hazing? What would be the penalty?
It’s a short list. Feel free to come up with your own. And don’t be timid. This may be your last time to pose questions. After all, the presidential search can’t go on forever.