Students, faculty meet to discuss university’s probation

Students met in Lee Hall Auditorium Monday to discuss the recent probationary status given to the university by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

SACS contacted FAMU by telephone and informed university officials of the probationary status, which will last for six months.

During that time, the university will have to prove to the committee that it has fixed administrative and financial issues.

If FAMU is not reaccredited, the school would lose its federal funding and students would have trouble transferring credits, which could spell out big problems for students attempting to go to graduate school at another institution.

Larry Robinson, who is serving as Chief Operating Officer until incoming president James Ammons takes office July 2, said FAMU can overcome this hurdle.

“The institution is in good hands and this is a serious opportunity for us to gather to make progress as a school.”

Robinson said there are ten areas in which FAMU was cited by the SACS committee, including significant problems due to a lack of permanent leadership and financial issues relating to a delay in paying university employees.

In September a team of financial advisors will visit campus to evaluate the progress the university has made toward addressing the committee’s concerns.

Despite the probationary status, Robinson said he is confident Ammons will be able to fix the problems and help the university to rebuild its reputation.

Robinson said the new administration will work to quickly address the issues and urged students to continue to go about their daily routines.

After a briefing of the university’s status, students were invited to ask questions.

One question raised was whether FAMU’s probationary status would have an effect on future enrollment.

Robinson said the university is preparing a letter to prospective students to let them know that coming to FAMU is still a good investment in their future.

The meeting worked to calm some students worries, but others said they are waiting to see results.

“I’m still concerned because they can guarantee what they need to do, but I need to see some action,” said Kianna Studstill, a 19-year-old student from Orlando. “He was dancing around some of the questions.”

FAMU’s Board of Trustees will be meeting July 11 to address the committee’s concerns as well.

Student Body President and University Trustee Monique Gillum said she hopes students can stay positive through this difficult time for FAMU.

“I hope students stay encouraged and won’t let this hinder their excitement,” said Gillum, 20, a senior political science student from Gainesville. “This is a great school and FAMU is not new to challenges or new to overcoming them.”

Gillum also invited all students to attend the BOT meeting and the prayer vigil at the Eternal Flame July 2 at 6:30.

Andrew Pierre, a senior biology student from Ft. Lauderdale said the solution to FAMU’s money mismanagement is to reach out to graduates.

“They need to contact these alumni,” Pierre said. ” SGA needs to have a benefit concert and solicit money from all of the people who care about FAMU.”

Henry Kirby, who serves as the Dean of Students, said the problems should be dealt with in a collaborative effort.

“We have some challenges but we’ll deal with them in a forthright manner. It’s a team effort and if the whole FAMU family gathers together there will be success.”

-Sidney Wright IV and Yewande Addie contributed to this report

For continuing of incoming President James Ammons’ installation and updates and on the accreditation status, be sure to check back with the Rattler News Network at or WANM 90.5-FM.