Positive changes highlighted by trustees

Financial aid lines, renovation and the former inspector general were hot topics at the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees meeting held Thursday.

There were fewer and shorter lines in the financial aid office at the beginning of the semester because the new student orientation format was modified.

This summer, instead of new students attending orientation in very large numbers, incoming students chose which weekend throughout the summer was best for them.

“Thanks to the new system, students should be receiving net checks months earlier than expected,” said Phillip Agnew, trustee member and student body president.

While in orientation, students were able to meet with their advisers, visit the financial aid office, visit the housing office, register for classes and get their Rattler cards.

“Students were on top of their paper work,” Agnew said.

This new process eliminated the amount of students held up in lines in different offices around campus.

“FAMU issued 10,000 awards to students this year and I am encouraged by that,” Agnew said.

“Plenty of water has passed under the bridge,” said Challis M. Lowe, BOT chairperson, in reference to the emergency meeting called in July.

The emergency meeting was called to investigate the accusations made against the administration, according to the minutes of the BOT meeting July 14.

Evidence was found that Michael Brown, former university inspector general, initiated the complaint about faulty audit findings against Interim President Castell V. Bryant.

An external review of the audit was conducted by Marty Kahn, inspector general for the University of North Florida, and he concluded Bryant did nothing wrong.

Kahn also found Brown had not followed the proper procedures in completing the audit. Brown was initially put on administrative leave; his employment has now been terminated.

BOT members seem to be happy with the university’s new inspector general, but they said they must continue to move forward.

“We can take a deep breath, but we can not pause,” said Lowe.

Another point made in the BOT meeting was that enrollment has decreased by nearly 400 students.

Last year the total number of students enrolled was 12,125, and as of Sept. 6, the number of enrolled students was 11,715.

“Although enrollment is down from the previous year, things are level,” Agnew said. The university did no recruitment for this school year and that is why enrollment has decreased, he added.

Many parents and students were impressed with the newly renovated facilities, Bryant said. Diamond Hall was at the top of the list of most improved facilities with freshly painted rooms, new furniture and new carpet.

There was also work done on Paddyfote and the improvements will not stop there.

“I thought the meeting went well,” said Carroll, “We are looking forward and not backward.”