Reactions: Students upset over engineering school budget transfer

Students in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering are upset and confused about the news of the state legislature giving Florida State University control of the budget for the college.

Students say this is all a bigger plan for FSU to take over FAMU.

“The Florida Legislature is just going to take more and more away from FAMU,” said Desmond Bourgeois, 20.

Bourgeois, a FAMU junior mechanical engineering student from Houston, said the decision to give financial responsibility to FSU is an underlined way of insulting FAMU’s intelligence.

“It seems that they (Florida Legislation) look at our school like we are not intelligent enough to handle the finances… it’s 2007,” Bourgeois said.

For Brian Johnson, a FAMU computer engineering student From Orlando, what began as a school rumor and joke has set into reality.

“The fact that Florida State is taking over the finances I thought was just a rumor, but now that FAMU actually lost control of the finances it’s a reality,” Johnson, 22, said.

Johnson said he is not sure whom he should blame for this occurrence.

“I don’t know if I should be angry with FSU for trying to take control of the E-school or FAMU for allowing it to happen,” Johnson said.

Some students said the move to give FSU power began before the financial issues came to light.

“It all started with the naming of the school after an FSU grad,” said Calicia Johnson, a 21-year-old junior mechanical engineering student from Detroit.

Johnson, president-elect of the National Society of Black Engineers, said the issue has been the talk of every classroom, and FAMU needs to step up and take power.

FAMU’s Student Government Association president agrees. “I feel that this a step towards FSU taking control of the E-school, but this is not the move that will ensure it,” said Phillip B. Agnew, 21.

Agnew said the switching of financial obligation to FSU was a wake-up call for FAMU. “This is a sign for us to wake up and assert ourselves,” said Agnew, a senior business administration student from Chicago. “We don’t want to make this the death of our University and union with FSU.”

In a recent press release, Agnew along with SGA President-elect Monique Gillum has scheduled a meeting with Florida Legislature Senate President Ken Pruitt. The meeting, scheduled for Monday, will be used to address the concerns of the engineering college and other University-related issues.

“This is a blatant attempt by T.K. Wetherell and the legislature to take the engineering school and we will not stand for it,” Agnew said.

Gillum concurs.

“I am concerned about FSU getting financial control of the E-school,” said Gillum, 21. “It concerns me where our seat is at the table.”

She said the legislature should wait for FAMU’s permanent president to take office before any decisions are made. “If they (FSU) are going to take the finances, we need to then have control over the administration,” Gillum said. ” It seems that the only thing that binds us is the name of the school.”

To FSU student Carlie Buchan, 22, the FAMU-FSU union needs to thrive.

“I think the school is undefended and not supported by both institutions,” said Buchan, a senior civil engineering student from West Palm Beach.

Buchan suggested that both entities make funding the school a main priority and split the financial powers between the universities as a solution.

“I think they need to make sure both universities contribute evenly to the school because there aren’t enough engineering students at FSU or FAMU for one to take ownership of the entire school,” she said.

Brandon Sasser, an FSU junior civil engineering student from Chipley, said the joint venture has always been difficult, especially when one schools wants to do something the other does not.

“It’s really good to come together but it’s hard to delegate powers separately…this is where the problems come to play,” he said.

For students who want to speak out against issues facing the FAMU-FSU School of Engineering, Agnew has a solution.

“Voice your concerns, call the legislators and inform them on how we feel. We have to do this to calm down these issues,” Agnew said.