FAMU, What is Going On?

I’m shaking my head and solemnly wondering, what is going on at my beloved FAMU? With this latest announcement by the BOT to delay entering into I-A status, it seems the university is utterly rudderless and clueless. In light of this action I now want to know, just what is the vision of the university? What is the long-term strategic plan? And who is suppose to be in charge to make it happen?

What a mess we find ourselves in. First, we announce to the world with great fanfare that we’re the first HBCU that will apply for I-A status. General euphoria ensues. Then, we’re approved, more euphoria. But, then folks (alumni, BOT, students) start looking a little closer and asking nervous questions like where will we get the additional funding?, and what about our long-standing traditions with other HBCUs?, and will FAMU lose its identity? On the heels of this came the audit and the financial mess of this winter. And now we want to rescind our I-A decision.

I’m embarrassed for the students, alumni, friends, and supporters of this beloved university. I see we’re now saying we need to recognize the needs of the entire university and not just the athletic department. But if anyone believes for one minute that this decision will not have a significant detrimental effect on all aspects of the university to include negatively affecting parents who are narrowing their choices as to what school their child will attend, then the leadership chasm is even bigger than what the events of the past few months portends it to be. Looks to me that the inmates are running the asylum?

Austin D. Bell IIIColonel, U.S. Army14309 Stonewater CtCentreville, VA 20121202-782-1225austin.bell@na.amedd.army.mil