The Florida A&M University student body is no stranger to change this semester. Interim President Castell V. Bryant announced Wednesday that she is suspending the operations of the Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce.
A press release issued by the Bryant stated that she met with the Institute’s 23 staff members and its director to give them the news.
“I want to thank you for your efforts and your contributions,” Bryant said in the release. “I am very grateful that you wanted to work here and make a contribution to the University and those who need our help.”
The suspension is effective today. However, Bryant said the employees would remain on the payroll until May 13.
“I have no comment on the current situation,” said Patricia McGill, director of Urban Policy. “I was in the meeting today, but I am still not really aware of what’s going on.”
McGill said she was surprised that there is an official statement out about the suspension because she is still unclear about the matter.
“This decision (accountability measures of the funding agencies) is still under review,” said LaNedra Carroll, FAMU Director of Public Affairs.
According to Wednesday’s press release, Bryant said she feels the suspension of the 23 employees and the institute’s operations was “absolutely necessary.”
The release said Bryant’s decision was based on the accountability measures of the University and the funding agencies.
The Institute offers programs such as community outreach, neighborhood revitalization and adult literacy. The programs receive state as well as federal funds to support community development efforts of inner-city areas and neighborhoods.
Mackin Kelly, a 21-year-old broadcast journalism student from Atlanta works in the IUPC, said the University gave no notice before making their decision.
“I was upset because they didn’t take consideration of the full-time employees that have to look for a job after Friday,” Kelly said.
This decision was made after the audit that President Bryant put on the school. The young adult programs, literacy programs, computer programming, and the business training program have been stopped because there is no more money to fund them.
Bryant said this was not an easy decision for her to make and that if things change between now and May 13, the University will know about it.
“I have to make unpopular decisions, and this is one of them- but it is not without caring and sensitivity to the situation,” Bryant said in her statement.
At press time, it was not clear whether Bryant’s decision had anything to do with the university-wide payroll audit.
The audit, which was done March 30 and April 1, was one of Bryant’s efforts to end the fiscal year in the black.
According to an April 1 article in The Famuan, the audit was intended to identify people who were being paid by the University but did not actually work in any office, in an effort to help the University end the fiscal year in the black on June 30.
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