Criteria for next leader set at townhall meeting

Roughly 50 students gathered in the Perry Paige Auditorium Friday at 4:30 p.m. to discuss with the Presidential Search Operation Subcommittee the criteria categories used in selecting the next president of Florida A&M University.

Ramon Alexander, chairman of the Presidential Search Focus Subcommittee began the meeting by describing the six selected categories used to select the next president.

The categories included; vision and mission, organizational development and management, academic standards, professionalism and communications, stakeholder participation, commitment and support and university advocacy.

Jasmine Mitchell was among the first group of students to voice her concern about the next selection of the University president.

“I would like my next president to understand that this road can’t be taken lightly and that they must know everything about this University to appoint certain positions to qualified employees that will cater to the students here at FAMU,” Mitchell said.

Ebony Ivory, the senate pro tempore, suggested that one criterion determined throughout the selection of a new president should involve a candidate with a strong background in business.

“The next president needs to have previous experience with business and management and should be able to work with employees,” said Ivory, 20, a junior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale.

In addition, Ivory said that the new president must have “a priority to keep the faculty happy and to stay student oriented.”

Malik Littles, 26, a graduate business administration student from West Palm Beach, said the next president should focus on increasing enrollment and retention.

“Online courses should be added to increase enrollment and the expansion of post graduate degree programs,” Littles said.

In regards to recruitment, several students voiced that the next president should enforce a mandatory recruitment program throughout high schools across the country.

Fabian Bryant, 19, a freshman political science student from Fort Walton Beach explained that his recruitment process to FAMU was done solemnly on his own as a result of the University’s cut back in recruitment programs.

“In my four years of high school, I never saw a recruiter from FAMU. I even went to the school’s Web site and the admissions information was outdated,” Bryant said.

However, Eddie Williams, 20, a junior architecture student from Valdosta, Ga., said he was concerned with the lack of attention from students for the school of architecture, which he hopes will concern to the next president.

“It’s hard to call ourselves alumni as architecture students when many times people say that we’re just that building in the way of the Benjamin Perry Building,” Williams said. “Until we are seen and heard as students in the school of architecture, we will continue to support ourselves.”

However, King Duncan, a 2002 FAMU graduate from Orlando, stood to announce to students how proud he was of them for taking the initiative to get involved in the process of selecting a new president.

“As an alumnus, I am involved because I want to be involved, and I love FAMU,” Duncan said.

Duncan continued by stating that he drove from Orlando to Tallahassee to attend the committee meeting because he was unable to attend the National Alumni Association committee meeting in Miami.

“I am just proud of the students here at FAMU. When I was here I was involved and now these students have a lot to look forward to,” Duncan said.

As students continued to address their concerns, many students were able to leave behind written suggestions to be used for selecting a new president.

Elizabeth Robinson, 19, a freshman general education and psychology student from Fort Lauderdale, said she looked forward to the selection process after attending the event.

“At FAMU, it’s all about creating traditions and that is what I hope to do as a student here-is to help create traditions for my child later on in life,” Robinson said.

Contact Christina Hordge at