The actions of the FAMU Board of Trustees at its meeting on Tuesday, has set FAMU on a path to a major crossroads.
The University is at a critical place where there is either a future of greater promise or deeper despair.
During the meeting, the BOT voted 9-4 to terminate President Fred Gainous’ contract on Jan. 1, 2005 unless there is a unanimous vote by the board to reinstate his contract.
The BOT is expected to make its decision on the status of the contract in December after it reviews an evaluation of Gainous, scheduled for release that same month.
As FAMU is currently embroiled in its duplicate net check fiasco and still recovering from the scathing comments of a University audit, the timing of the BOT’s move seems to be poorly planned.
When an institution is feeling the weight of controversy, immediately removing the leader is not the typical course of events.
The board’s seemingly hasty decision is an invaluable opportunity for changes to travel throughout the administrative functions of the University.
The moves against Gainous must be only the beginning of changes instituted at the University, or we may be heading straight downhill from this point.
The changes that the BOT must initiate from this point on must start within its own circle.
The board must hold itself more accountable for the negative effects of its actions and actually take the time necessary to reevaluate how it views the University’s leadership and its purpose.
At the moment, the trustees are so disjointed that no good can grow from their decision to remove Gainous from the presidency.
This is a monumental time in the history of FAMU, but the BOT and the FAMU community must recognize that the steps taken toward removing the current president is not a magic pill for the many woes that plague the school.
The motion to terminate Gainous’s contract is an opportunity to re-assess the problems the University is facing – with one less roadblock in the way.