On Wednesday, Florida A&M University’s president, James Ammons, and several faculty members held an open forum in Lee Hall.
Ammons began the forum by explaining his and the Board of Trustees’ six-step major expectations plan for the 2007-2008 year. He explained to students how he is evaluated by this plan.
“Just like how you all get graded, I get graded as well by the board for this year [and] I’m used to getting A’s,” Ammons said.
The six-step plan consists of improving the financial and operational management of the university, moving the university and accredited disciplines toward compliance with the standards of their respective accrediting bodies, recruiting and developing an effective administrative team, developing an enrollment management plan to increase recruitment efforts, implementing marketing and public relations strategies and lastly developing the infrastructure for achieving fund-raising goals.
Ammons went more in-depth about some of his plans.
“We’re going to improve the financial integrity of the university in the minds of major stakeholders and supporters as well as the public in general, by institutionalizing the corrective actions taken to address the citations in the operational and financial audits, as well as the SACS citations,” Ammons said. “I feel pretty good about the trustees and where we are right now.”
He spent over an hour and a half addressing the concerns of many students who attended the meeting. Many of the students’ concerns included trouble at the FAMU’s College of Law in Orlando, the price for renting Lee Hall for a student organized event, increases in tuition, the lack of a presence at the engineering school, and of course some of the problems with the financial aid office.
However, a popular complaint among students at the student forum had to do with faculty members. Some students said that faculty members had mistreated them.
Ammons made it clear that that kind of behavior by staff members would not be tolerated.
“We are not going to tolerate this, no one is going to be mistreated here on the campus [because] this is your home… you could have gone to any other school but you chose FAMU and people should treat others like how they would want someone to treat their own child,” Ammons said. “We need to know who these people who are mistreating you.”
Many of the students who attended the forum said they enjoyed the personal one-on-one environment with Ammons.
“I applaud President Ammons for taking the proactive direction and allowing us to talk to him and him telling us what’s going on before we have to read it in the paper,” said Monique Gillum, 21, student body president.
Jamilah Cherry, 19, a junior veterinary student from Oakland, Ca., said she feels that open forums like the one held on Wednesday, are beneficial to the university.
“I think the forums are helpful because it strengthens the connection between the university president and the students,” Cherry said. “Forums also allow for a more informed student body.”
Despite the positive responses from some of the students that attended, Lee Hall was only one-fourth full. Gillum said she believes it would be very helpful if more students attended.
“A lot of people are wondering what is going on with FAMU?” Gillum said. “The forums are one on one with the president [and] I encourage more people to attend the next one.”
The date for the next student forum has not yet been scheduled.