Bryant speaks on University surplus

Plans to allocate Florida A&M University’s $8 million surplus are under way.

Interim President Castell V. Bryant said University officials are currently reviewing the funds before deciding how FAMU will use the extra monies.

“The $8 million is a combination of recurring and non-recurring monies as well as restricted and non-restricted monies,” Bryant said.

“There is a review to separate those out, and once we have them separated we will develop a plan as to how we are going to, in fact, use those funds.”

The University Board of Trustees are also developing and passing policies to require FAMU officials to live by sound accountability, Bryant said.

University officials are making changes to improve the state of the institution and maintain the positive financial status.                                                                                                           

This is the first time in three years that the University has ended its year with a positive balance.                                              

Last year the University had a deficit of $3 million.  

When Bryant entered her interim position at the beginning of the spring 2005 semester, the financial state of the University was dismal and one of her goals was to end the fiscal year “in the black.”                                                                                                                                                  

LaNedra Carroll, director of Public Affairs, said: “Dr. Bryant insists on accountability at all levels. Her focus has been on efficiency and effectiveness.”                                                                

Bryant has implemented numerous budget cuts and money saving practices, including travel cutbacks and restrictions, and budget cuts for some programs.                                                                   

March 31, Bryant required all University employees to sign off on their paychecks during the employee audit. Through this measure she found that a certain number of people were being paid, but were not on the payroll.                                                                                                                                             

 Bryant also issued a moratorium on University spending in the spring while officials assessed the institution’s financial problems.                                                                                                                          

Everyone had to make sacrifices, Carroll said, but the surplus is “something we can all be proud of.”                                                                                                                                                    

Carroll said: “I think the surplus is a result of several measures taken by the president. No one thing, just a combination of several business practices.”                                                      

Student Government Association President Ramon Alexander, 21, said he is pleased about the University’s current financial surplus.                                                                                                                       

Alexander, a senior political science student from Tallahassee, said he is optimistic about the University’s financial future because the surplus “shows that FAMU is on the right track towards improving the quality of life for each and every student.”                                                                   

The student body leader said “I feel extremely confident that Bryant has laid the foundation and will continue to lay the foundation until the next president of the University comes in and builds off of that foundation to make FAMU a better place,” Alexander said.                                                   

Some students believe Bryant is the reason for the change, while others believe she isn’t the sole reason for the extra money.                                                                                                                 

Shaka Brown, 22, a senior from Seattle, Wash., said he doesn’t fully attribute the University’s financial improvement to Bryant’s changes.                                                                                                            

“I don’t think the whole thing is accredited to her. There are other people throughout the University who are trying to make a difference,” said Brown, a sociology student.                                    

In contrast, Kedna Tanis, a sophomore biology student, believes Bryant has made many positive changes to improve the University.                                                                                                  

  “The interim president is doing a hell of a job,” said Tanis, a 19-year-old student from North Lauderdale. “Before her I didn’t see any change. She has been proactive in changing everything.”           

Whether Bryant is the main reason for the surplus or not, University officials do not want the positive status of the institution to reverse.

Carroll emphasized that many of the University’s changes, which spurred the surplus are here to stay.     

“The practices Bryant spearheaded were not temporary,” Carroll said. “We’re on the right track.”

Bryant said the surplus sends a message to people who doubted the ability of FAMU’s administration.

The surplus sends a “clear message that we are very capable at this University of managing our budget.”

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