As the semester comes to a close, I am reminded of how crazy the entire 16-week process was. From all of the hurricanes to campaigning for the next U.S. president, it has been a wild ride.
But one thing that continues to run through my mind-and surely the minds of students and alumni alike-is the infamous Sept. 28 Board of Trustees meeting in which President Fred Gainous was “fired.”
I had mixed emotions about the decision. I agree that when mistakes and mismanagement occur, the source of the problems should be dealt with. Still, I’m disheartened that it took nearly two years and a farce of a BOT meeting to make that happen.
Considering the magnitude of our president’s and our school’s shortcomings, I talked with my dad at length about the situation.
Now, rhere was never a doubt 21 years ago where I would attend college. There was never a doubt 5 years ago. Yes, my parents are alumni and bleed orange and green proudly.
But for someone who once told me “My daughter can go to any college she wants, but my money is going to FAMU” to tell me “Lindsay, hurry up and graduate,” I’m now confused and saddened.
Yet, my father makes an excellent point as to why his love and support of FAMU is steadily declining.
In 1887, the University was founded to give blacks a way to receive an education. Over a hundred years later, many of us still live in this mentality of a black school.
Times have changed drastically, yet our leaders (and ultimately the University as a whole) have not progressed with said times. We constantly remind ourselves of what a great historically black university we are – but never a great school. We constantly compare ourselves to the Morehouses and the Howards of the world, but never to the Yales, Browns or even the Stanfords out there.
A fact that is sad, considering we will be competing against students from all over the United States for job offers – not just those who look like us.
In what will be the fifth president this University will see in four years (Frederick Humphries, Interim president Henry Lewis, Gainous, another pending interim) once the new president is selected, I hope that he or she has a vision that stretches beyond Tallahassee, beyond Florida and beyond race.
We have excellent colleges and schools that compete on a national level. Take the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. COPPS is ranked third in the nation, regardless of the college being at an HBCU.
That’s vision. Former interim president and former pharmacy dean Lewis had vision – the type of vision from which all University administrations can take a lesson.
I ask that the BOT take careful consideration in choosing FAMU’s 10th president – someone that can restore the honor and pride students and alumni once felt for FAMU. Someone who will lead our University to once again be the Time Magazine-Princeton Review College of the Year.
That is my wish for the University of which I will be an graduate come next semester. I would rather have a reason to give back to FAMU rather than a reason to tell my children and grandchildren to apply elsewhere.
Lindsay Pollard is a senior magazine production student from Fort Lauderdale. She is the assistant copy desk chief for The Famuan. Contact her at Lensay383@yahoo.com.