Language and psychology students and faculty defended their programs to Florida A&M's Board of Trustees Thursday in a failed bid to stop budget cuts that would end nearly two dozen degree programs at the university.
Administrators have deemed programs in disciplines from graphic communication to education and foreign languages as "low-productivity," and targeted them for termination in FAMU's restructuring proposals (See related story).
Faculty and staff were allowed three minutes to champion their program's significance. Angered echoes and a silent audience filled the Grand Ballroom as speakers strived to save their programs from termination.
The foreign language and psychology programs were first on the budget chopping block. One by one, faculty and students expressed their frustration and confusion as to why their program was being cut.
Irene Hamilton, a psychology student enrolled in the school of psychology Education Specialist program, complained of out-of-date material the program uses and her concern for children with psychological and physical needs.
"I can't advocate for a child if I can't advocate for myself," Hamilton said.
Ciara Taylor, a senior student in the language department, complained that the board had factored out the student element from plans to restructure the university. Her subtle demeanor changed as she spoke. Taylor accused President James Ammons of contradicting his stance on students' future.
"Throughout the "Restructuring Plan" that has been constructed by President Ammons, he mentions the future 16 times," Taylor said. "And although I agree that we should place emphasis on the future, the present students, faculty and staff should take precedence."
Stacey Youmans, a member of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, a law enforcement organization catered to the well being of police officers and approached the podium with two PBA members at his side.
Youmans said that FAMU PD is the lowest paid officers that are part of the State University System. He stated FAMU has the highest crime rates than any other university in the SUS.
He went on to explain the horrid condition of the squad cars.
"We have to constantly deal with the flickering headlights of the squad cars during night patrols, the disconnection from the front tire of the squad.
The board meeting ended in the establishment of the restriction plan.
For further details of the BOT meeting, read staff writer Marcus Joseph's story for details of what the board voted on and what will change at FAMU.