Title III funding shortage may close center’s doors

The sun may set on the Center for Equity and Cultural Diversity if their re-funding proposal for the 2004 – 2005 academic year is denied.

The U.S. Department of Education through Title III is responsible for funding a vast array of FAMU’s activities, but the drawn-out process of selecting which activities get funding is somewhat like a draft pool.

Yolanda Boronell, the director of the Center, said it has been weeks since they submitted their proposals for next year’s funding, but factors such as recent administrative changes and a greater number of organizations competing for funds, are responsible for the delay.

“All we can do now is wait,” Boronell said.

On the walls in Boronell’s office only display two things: “The Prayer of Jabez” and a picture of social activist Shirley Chisholm.

These vestiges of empowerment parallel her initial objective for the Center.

“The goal was to implement programs that afford women the same employment privileges as men, outreach services for middle schools in Leon and surrounding counties and educational symposiums on topics such as sexual violence,” she said.

“It’s always been my goal to empower people to take control of their lives.”

Delores Glover, the interim assistant director for Title III, said it is too premature to assess whether the Center would be re-funded.

“There are 43 total activities that have to go through the same process,” Glover said.

However, Buenita Lee, the coordinator of public functions at the Center, said Title III has announced that it is shifting its focus.

Lee said any activities that do not comply with the new aims, will most likely have to seek primary funding from another source.

“We’ve been doing outreach programs for students, staff and faculty,” Lee said. “If we don’t fit under the new criteria, we may have to change our focus or lose funding from Title III.”

Lee also said the Center will receive grants at least until Oct. 1, but the decision has yet to be made for the time after that.

However, history will repeat itself if the Center is denied funding.

Two years ago, Joyce Peterside was the interim director for the Center of Equity and Cultural Diversity and director of the Leadership Institute, both of which operated out of the same building.

Peterside implemented programs during her two-year tenure as the dual director. But the administration did not renew funding requests for the Leadership Institute.

“I was told it was going to be cut. And that was that,” Peterside said.

“They told me after November 28, there would be no more funding for the Leadership Institute and my position would be terminated,” she said.

Boronell said she hopes she will not suffer the same fate.

“We’ve been here for 10 years,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll be here for 10 more.”

contact russell nichols at nichols_russell@hotmail.com.