Blog makes false accusations

Former president Walter L. Smith is calling a story that appeared on the Web log Rattler Nation false. The story said Smith is the transitional consultant for Interim President Castell V. Bryant. The blog appeared Feb. 14 on and stated that Smith had been hired by Bryant to serve as a transitional consultant. It also said, “This is Mr. Smith’s second $100,000/+ contract with FAMU under the Castell Bryant administration.” Smith acknowledged he does have a role in the transition process. “I am the person who will be putting together the document for the transition from interim president to a permanent president,” Smith said. In response to the allegation that he is under his second contract under the Bryant administration, Smith said he has not had a contract with the University in nearly 20 years. B “I have not had in my life any contracts with FAMU except as a student, when I was a lab assistant; 1963 in the FAMU hospital; when I came back in 1977 to be the seventh president of FAMU; and in 1985 when I became a professor after returning from my leave of absence to the University of Malawi in Central Africa where I served as a Fulbright Scholar.” Smith said he does not have a position at FAMU but is performing a special task. “I have been asked by Dr. Bryant to develop this document to look at the status of all 13 colleges and schools and the University, so the new president will know what’s going on at a glance,” he said. The document Smith is preparing is a state-of-the University type document, and he said it is not a secret. The new president will have to know what each college and school needs and how to address their issues. The document includes information such as enrollment numbers, faculty, the number of graduates, recruitment plans, internal and external partnerships and issues critical to each school or college, to name a few. The document includes input from the deans of the colleges and schools as well. “My role at the University is to serve as a consultant to work with the University, academic deans and staff to develop a comprehensive transition document which will enhance a smooth transition from our interim president to our permanent president,” he said. Smith feels the most insulting allegation made by Rattler Nation is that he is receiving $100,000 for the job, although he is getting paid for his work with the University. He also admitted that he does have a contract for this function. “They lied about the $100,000 that they are talking about,” Smith said. “I have a contractual obligation to produce this document. I would never do anything that is to the detriment of FAMU.” He also said the amount of money he is receiving from the University is only a little more than 10 percent of the figure reported by the Rattler Nation blog. Some University officials are familiar with the blog, but made it clear that it is not a University-sanctioned forum. “We’re not going to comment on information on the blog,” said Pam Bryant, FAMU public relations coordinator. “We just don’t respond to any information from it. It is not one of our official ways of communication, and is not affiliated with the University.”