When I arrived at FAMU in the fall semester of 2003, many situations needed to be greatly improved in order to sustain this illustrious institution.
Most mornings I found myself reading the front page of the Tallahassee Democrat, which discredited the stability of FAMU. At that time in FAMUs history, former President Gainous appeared to take a more passive role in solving the school’s problems.
Inadvertently, Gainous had only contributed to the downfall of this institution.
After the dismissal of Gainous, a very serious, intelligent and confident woman, Dr. Castell Bryant, was named Interim President. With the odds against her, Dr. Bryant made evident strives to improve the present state of FAMU.
When the university was turned over to Dr. Bryant, it was in poor financial standing, with low student enrollment, and many schools were without a dean.
With the finances of the university “up in the air,” Dr. Bryant made a bold move to ensure that money was allocated for the correct purposes.
In the spring semester of 2005, Dr. Bryant conducted an audit to insure that the university’s finances were not being embezzled
After this financial investigation, it was discovered that some employees were on the payroll several times and that there was a multitude of unaccounted expenses.
Unfortunately, Dr. Bryant’s findings were just what some expected from her disloyal staff. Hopefully in the future, the university comptroller takes a more proactive role in ensuring that embezzlement will cease to exist at FAMU.
On August 25, 2005 Dr. Bryant announced that enrollment numbers went down for classes for the fall semester. The enrollment of students was at its lowest in three years.
It is evident that the university needs to improve its recruitment efforts. Without students, the university will lose stability and revenue.
Some may blame the lack of enrollment on the financial aid fiasco that occurred last year, but that theory only accounts for students who already attended the university.
Under the leadership of Gainous, several deans resigned from their respective schools. Those particular schools have since suffered without the proper management to guide them in the right direction.
For instance, SBI’s enrollment has dropped 42% because it has been operating without a dean since 2003; SBI was known as one of the largest departments.
Dr. Bryant has the university’s best interest at heart. I only hope that she continues to make strides to ensure that FAMU will prosper in the coming years. As long as the university avoids financial hardships, recruits students and has dedicated leaders over its departments, it will continue to be home to over 10,000 Rattlers.
Alexander Harris III is a third year Business Administration student from Chicago. He is the Business Editor. Contact him at Alexander_G_Harris@yahoo.com