Leadership falters

With the fall 2003 semester coming to a close, FAMU just doesn’t seem to be in as good a position as it was at the start of the semester.

The university’s name is being smeared across news and editorial pages all over the country. The athletic department is coming to terms with the fact that it may not have the finances to completely fund the football team’s move to Division I-A. Talks that the second winningest black college football coach, Billy Joe, may have coached his last game in Orlando have finally started to die down, but many other rumors are taking shape. Word of President Fred Gainous’ anticipated resignation floated throughout campus on university letterhead on Monday, but he quickly denied its authenticity.

And now students who are unsure about the actual reality of the university’s financial woes are questioning whether FAMU could actually become the next Morris Brown College.

While this is an unlikely outcome, the university is in a serious predicament. Over two months after the deadline to submit financial statements to the state’s Department for Finance Administration, FAMU is still trying to balance its end-of the-year budget, which shows an excess of $1.8 million in net assets, according to Gainous.

The current hiring, travel and expenditure restrictions are hindering the searches for permanent deans of four of the university’s schools, but Gainous said students should not be worried. And why not? Because these problems were created years ago and the university has no choice but to fail before it can succeed? Absolutely not.

The administration needs to stop trying to explain where all of the financial problems came from and start focusing on solutions. Inheriting a financial mess cannot be a positive thing, but a competent leader must be able to assess the problems and provide viable solutions, within reasonable time.

Gainous was appointed president of this illustrious university over 17 months ago and while the negatives always seem to stick out farther than the positives, its hard to point out anything great that he has brought to this university.

Elizabeth M. Broadway for the Editorial Board