School prepares for 2005 session

President Castell Bryant and members of FAMU’s Board of Trustees stressed the importance of having FAMU’s voice heard by Florida legislators during Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting. In the past two years, FAMU has used the services of outside lobbyists and as a result has received unprecedented government funds.

During the teleconference meeting, Trustee Barney Bishop said the use of an outside lobbyist was imperative to the University’s financial survival.

In reference to the increase in government dollars because of lobbyists, Bishop said, “it’s been a hell of a deal.”

Earlier this month, Bryant hired Jacquelynne Maxey to head University lobbying. In Friday’s meeting, several trustees requested an analysis of the job she has done thus far and of the money received from lobbying in the last two years.

“I think that she has done an excellent job so far,” SGA President and Trustee Virgil Miller said.

The level of influence Maxey will have during the upcoming session is currently unclear, but some are not sure of the impact an outside lobbyist will have.

“Personally, I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Miller said.

Bryant also discussed her plan of using the trustees and FAMU alumni as a resource for government legislation.

Bryant said her vision was to implore graduates throughout the state of Florida to contact their local representatives in the interest of the school. By consistently raising issues dear to FAMU, Bryant hopes to have Florida politicians aware of the statewide interest in the concerns of the University.

During Florida’s Legislature Session, which begins March 8, FAMU trustees plan to be much more visible than they have been in the past. On March 23, a number of trustees will attend FAMU Day at the Capital. The event will give board members the opportunity to speak directly with legislators and build relationships that will make campus concerns prevalent in the minds of local leaders.

“This will give the University a chance to have face to face meetings during that time,” Bryant said.

A number of key issues will be raised during the session, including equitable funding and the Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) project. In light of FAMU’s recent financial difficulties, expectation rests on the University’s ability to gain favor during the session.

“I hope that we have a great deal of success in the session,” Miller said.

Ultimately, Bryant will make many of the decisions concerning the session and the BOT is fine with that.

“You’ve got to make the budget work and you’ve got to make the call,” Trustee the Rev. R.B. Holmes said.

Several trustees commended Bryant for her motivation and energy. The meeting ended on a positive note, with participants expressing their drive to aid FAMU during the session.

“We can do this, my friends,” Holmes said.

Contact Steven Jumper at