In most situations that involve decision-making, it is generally considered better to move forward with a flawed plan in a timely manner than a “fool-proof” plan when opportunities have gone by the wayside. While this is true in most cases, it is important to remember that whenever time allows for self-examination, one should always take the option.
The board of trustees, in its decision to temporarily stop searching for a new president, has made a difficult but necessary move to re-examine Florida A&M’s future before moving forward with a definitive leader.
The search for FAMU’s next president has been a heated issue since former President James H. Ammons resigned in July amid the scandal surrounding the death of drum major Robert Champion. This is as it should be. With heated discussion from students and officials comes controversy and arguments but also the exchange of ideas and better frame of reference when the time to make final decisions arrives.
Luckily, Larry Robinson is serving his position as interim president admirably, so we still have a solid leadership under which to have these discussions. Plus, his relationship with FAMU and his brief time as chief executive officer in 2007 makes him uniquely qualified to help see our community through this troubling time.
The real issues are how we show our ability in the eyes of others, as of now, and what our values will be from now on.
It is important to remember that the board’s decision to temporarily suspend presidential candidate searching comes during the middle of FAMU’s probation by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges – the regional accreditor for FAMU. If the school is not deemed sufficient by SACS, it could be in danger of losing its accreditation.
With such a monumental concern that affects the lives of everyone involved with FAMU, it would be near-impossible to simultaneously decide upon a quality leader without any foreseeable, major problems. Time spent not having to handle a task so high is also more time spent planning for future situations when our values are brought into question.
All of this is not to say the board could not have made a better decision earlier, but the fact that BOT members are being honest about re-evaluating the school’s priorities is a good sign of maturity and a great deal of confidence in our next leader.