Trustees confront University issues

The Board of Trustees held an emergency teleconference meeting in Lee Hall Monday afternoon to discuss various issues currently affecting the University.

“I called for the meeting because students were confused and didn’t have adequate updates,” said Student Body President Phillip B. Agnew.

One of the primary items on the agenda was the fiscal concerns regarding the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. During the meeting the board unanimously voted to ask the Florida Legislature not to relieve FAMU of the fiscal responsibilities.

Another item on the agenda was the accreditation of the College of Law and College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Provost Debra Austin briefed the board on issues regarding the current provisional status of the College of Law. “We are currently in our third year of provisional status,” Austin said.

According to the provost, the University was given a total of five years of provisional accreditation status. During this time the college would have to meet certain stipulations to gain full accreditation. Among the major areas of focus are the bar passage rate of FAMU law students, recruitment and attracting “seasoned” faculty.

Some students are concerned that the lack of a permanent dean in the school may be contributing to the school not receiving full accreditation. However, Interim President Castell V. Bryant and other officials are confident that the new president will implement a plan to improve the University.

“The law school will be fine,” said Student Body Vice President Monique Gillum. “In the coming months I believe there will be a drastic change across all of our campuses, as Dr. Ammons will be here to lay out his plan of action.”

The board also passed a resolution to request a supplemental budget of $2 million to go to the pharmacy school. Board members hope these funds will assist with the accreditation of the school.

“We couldn’t get everything done in two hours,” Agnew said, “but what we did get accomplished is going to have lasting impact.”

Students who attended the meeting said they left with a better understanding of the state of the University.

“I’ve never been to a BOT meeting,” said Charles Manchion, a sophomore political science student from Cincinnati. “I learned a lot about the moves the University is making. It was very encouraging for me.”

Before wrapping up the meeting, the Board addressed an issue that many students expressed concerns about – summer classes.

Although the summer course schedule was posted later than usual, the Board said classes are currently open and available for students to enroll. Agnew suggested the University take action to reach out to students who made plans to attend other institutions during the summer.

“We want students to know that the classes are up,” Agnew said. “The provost’s office is trying to do a lot better with communication. If students are still having problems with summer school classes, they should speak with their deans.”

Students said the recent protests and negative publicity the University has received in recent weeks concerned them, but attending the meeting helped put things in perspective.

“Things are looking very hopeful,” Manchion said. “I think the students that did come were informed as to what is going on. I wish a lot more students would attend.”

Agnew said he too was pleased with the results of the meeting.

“We didn’t get to answer all the questions, but I do think the meeting was beneficial,” he said. “We passed two strong resolutions and that was major. They have huge implications on the future of our University.”