Communication is this University’s Achilles’ heel

If there’s one person walking this campus who truly values the education they’ve gotten at Florida A&M University, it’s me. The vigorous and thorough lessons we learn here are excellent precursors to what is to be expected in the dreaded “real world” of which our elders speak.

With that said, there’s one recurring qualm I’ve had with the University. Since I came here two years ago, there has been a lack of proper communication between the administration and the faculty/student body.

Case in point, the graduation date for spring 2008 was recently changed. Originally, the date set in the Registrar’s calendar was May 4.

Being an eager upcoming graduate, I immediately called my parents last semester to inform them to book hotel and flight arrangements for my extended family. Two days after my family’s travel plans were set in stone, I had lunch with my friend Candace, who informed me of the news that graduation had changed from May 4 to April 27.

What’s worse, the administration didn’t seem to be doing anything to spread the news throughout the campus. In fact, the only reason Candace found out about the date change was because she had an appointment with her adviser the day before.

Knowing that many of us are making special arrangements and having family coming to town specifically for graduation, isn’t announcing a change of that magnitude kind of important?

When I returned to class the following day, I spread this knowledge so my peers wouldn’t get caught in the same predicament I was in.

Six of the seven graduating seniors in my class had no idea about any date change. Many of them had already made reservations for family members to fly from places as far away as Chicago for the supposed May 4 date.

I even had to be the one to bring it to the attention of our beloved school newspaper, The Famuan. They didn’t receive any notification from the administration about running a story on the date change for the student body to read.

You would assume the school newspaper would at least get a memo from administration about an issue of that magnitude.

These little bits of information seemingly get lost in translation. It makes FAMU look unreliable and tarnishes the reputation of the school.

What would have happened if I never had lunch with Candace? I would have never found out about the date change, and other students who were anticipating their graduation would have never known about it either.

A lack of communication at this level hinders FAMU from elevating itself as a University. We all know the potential that FAMU, but until the lines of communication are made crystal clear among all publics of the University we’re going to have to deal with stressors that could be prevented.

Mike McLafferty is a senior magazine production student from Port Charlotte. He can be reached at