President Fred Gainous asked all media to escort themselves out of the third faculty luncheon Wednesday. But little did he know the media had the right to be there, and one reporter from The Famuan was going to exercise her right. She sat through the entire luncheon and even attempted to get a statement from Gainous at the end. As Gainous refused to comment, he told her that it was deceitful to have disregarded his initial request.
While the reporter may have been wrong for not making Gainous aware that she was going to remain at the luncheon, she made no other journalistic errors. And she had the right to be there as stated in section 286.006 of the Florida statutes, the Government-in-the-Sunshine-Law.
While Gainous may have been upset by the continued negative coverage the university has received from the local and statewide media in the recent weeks, this does not give him justification to refuse media attendance at an open faculty luncheon.
To think the president would be upset at the university’s student newspaper for wanting to cover a highly informative event is disheartening. While it is true that all news is not good news, bad news still has to be reported. Why would Gainous want to continue the current trend of miscommunication throughout this university by hand feeding news to its student media or neglecting to share it at all?
This situation is humorous because had this been a scholarship presentation, faculty reception or some other type of “happy” occurrence, reporters from The Famuan would have been requested to be in attendance.
The Famuan is the voice of Florida A&M University, the free, unbiased and uncensored voice. And despite what the administration, faculty, staff or students may believe, it is not a public relations tool for the university.
Elizabeth Broadway for the editorial board.