Trustees call meeting to clear confusion

Campus outcry about problems facing the University has led to an emergency Board of Trustees meeting set to take place Friday at 1 p.m. in the president’s conference room.

The meeting was scheduled after several board members, including Student Body President Phillip Agnew, decided University stakeholders deserved to have some clarity on matters facing the University.

“It is extremely important to dispel the rumors, eliminate confusion and end all the misinformation,” Agnew said. “Stakeholders, which includes students, faculty, alumni and the community, deserve to be updated on the progress of the University.”

The board will discuss matters that include the decision by the Florida Board of Governors to turn over financial power of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering solely to Florida State University, the low number of summer school course offerings, especially the lack of upper level courses for graduating seniors, the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and College of Law accreditation status, the cancellation of employee health insurance and the status of the University in compliance with the auditor general’s preliminary audit finding.

The board will also address some questions submitted by students in a rally held Monday and Tuesday called the State & Fate of FAMU, Agnew said.

In an e-mail sent to board chairwoman Challis Lowe on March 31, Agnew said, “It is especially trying for board members residing in Tallahassee, for every day we are faced with the faces of confused and concerned Rattlers.”

Trustee Pamela Duncan agreed with Agnew and said, “I am very disturbed about the recent action taken by the Legislature regarding the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and have greater concerns about the interim president’s quotes in the Friday, March 30 article in the Tallahassee Democrat.”

Duncan went on to explain her frustration.

“Frankly, I am outraged by Dr. (Castell) Bryant’s comments and the constant lack of notice to this board regarding issues of this magnitude,” Duncan said. “Chairwoman Lowe, this has got to stop. The leadership of this administration is out of control, continues to make decisions that are detrimental to this great university, and acts with total disregard to the members of this board and its stakeholders. We are not serving our students.”

Trustee Mary Diallo e-mailed Lowe to address the problem of FAMU’s nonpayment of several faculty members’ insurance premiums.

“I would like the answers to the following questions: Why did FAMU not pay its share of employees’ health insurance premiums, and what has been done to correct the system to prevent reoccurrence of this problem?” said Diallo, the faculty Senate president.

Diallo said she e-mailed her questions to Janie Greenleaf in human resources, and they were not adequately answered.

Lowe quickly responded to the board members’ complaints by calling for the emergency trustee meeting to ease their frustrations.

“I will add the items you’ve requested to the agenda,” Lowe said.

The Friday board meeting is open to the public and is aimed to calm the minds of those who have invested time, energy and money into the University.

“Questions that can’t wait to be answered in the regularly scheduled meeting in May are going to be addressed at this meeting,” Agnew said. “All is not well, but the school is working to make things right.”