SBI, Merger talks Clarified

FAMU SGA President Larry O. Rivers asked members of FAMU’s Board of Trustees to put an end to rumors that President Fred Gainous plans to merge FAMU with Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College.

Rivers, a member of the board, was referring to a letter sent to trustees last week informing them that Gainous had plans to change SBI’s student acceptance requirements. Trustees’ Chairman James Corbin, who sent the letter, said it wasn’t the time to discuss the letter, but agreed to do so.

Corbin said he approached Gainous earlier this year with concerns of a rumor that Gainous was brought to FAMU to “crash the university or merge it with Florida State or TCC.” He said this would happen “by destroying one of the signature programs at FAMU; the School of Business (and Industry).”

Corbin said he wrote the letter because six weeks after talking to Gainous about the school-merging rumor, he began hearing that the administration planned to reduce the SAT, ACT, and other requirements of acceptance into SBI. Currently, incoming freshmen seeking acceptance into the bachelor’s program need a minimum 1100 SAT score or 24 ACT score. Incoming freshmen for the five-year MBA program need a 1200 SAT score or 27 ACT score.

Corbin said any changes to SBI’s requirements or changes to any of the other colleges on campus should be brought to the board for review.

Trustee Rev. R.B. Holmes agreed.

“This administration was in the process of making changes to SBI without the blessing of the Board of Trustees or the faculty,” Holmes said. “That is unacceptable.”

Gainous and Provost Larry Robinson admitted to the proposed changes to SBI acceptance requirements, but conceded that all possible changes would go before the board first.

Business students are concerned with what lowering standards would do to the internationally known school.

“Any time you talk about lowering the standards to get into a school you are lowering the competitiveness of that school and you should always be trying to raise the bar,” said Terez Sherrod, 21, a senior business administration student from Raleigh, N.C. “It is extremely important that we get a dean, but my biggest concern is that there isn’t too much upheaval and unnecessary changes before a new dean takes over SBI.”

“It also is important that the search committee for the dean is given enough time to choose the most qualified candidate and not just anyone for expediencies sake.”

Many of the trustees at the meeting said there needs to be more discussion about SBI and all the other issues that affect the university.

“There needs to be more of a discussion than just SBI…we need to know the board’s role financially with other matters.” said Trustee Randall Hannah.

Malcolm Glover can be reached at