President Fred Gainous should be commended for the plans that he laid out during his State of the University Address on Thursday. Planning for FAMU to overcome the shadow of its unfulfilled grants and continue to grow was inspired. Nonetheless, Gainous failed to focus on one serious fault that he and other members of the administration share – poor communication with students.
The rules and standards for giving the State of the University Address are an exercise in disrespect toward students and their importance.
The address did not take a wrong turn when Gainous spoke to faculty only – seeing as how that is correct under University statutes. The problem is with the statues themselves. How can you address the state of any organization without addressing all of its members?
It was a great gesture that the invitation to the address allowed non-faculty members to attend, but it should be more than a gesture – it should be a requirement. Because if there were no students enrolled at this university, this university would not exist.
That’s a major reason why many FAMU graduates vow never get involved with the University again. They feel repeatedly ignored, even to the point of being left out of a University statute.
Gainous has a responsibility to inform the entire University whenever he discusses issues that effect FAMU.
Unfortunately, the president’s address highlighted, perpetuated and failed to resolve a serious problem that FAMU has consistently faced.
Leaving students uninformed at an institution of higher learning is unacceptable.
Gainous stressed in his speech keeping relationships healthy. But, if administrators fail to keep their bond with students healthy, other relationships will become inconsequential.
Taking an additional effort to ensure students are involved whenever their university president addresses an issue facing their institution is crucial for the well being of any university.
The students of FAMU deserve and should demand better. As an irreplaceable component of the University, students deserve the opportunity to hear Gainous’ observations and plans straight from him. If the president wants a chance to bring about change, he needs to institute it properly.
If the constitution is in the way of involving the students as a whole. then the solution is simple, change the constitution.