A Note to Castell: Attitude Reflects Leadership

Former Interim President Castell V. Bryant quit in May, less than two months before our 10th president, James Ammons, was to arrive.

That move was incomprehensible – how do you weather the storm for 2 years and quit right before your time expires anyway?

Unsurprisingly, Bryant is bitter and has gone on to blast her alma mater in an interview published in the St. Petersburg Times.

As a senior, I can admit I am not graduating with overwhelming nostalgia in my heart. FAMU has been a four-year headache brought on largely by administrative issues, therefore hearing the interim president, the top administrator, lambaste her institution in the media brings disgrace to herself, first and foremost.

She did not successfully complete the task she was entrusted to do – and she is upset? What about the students she was supposed to serve. Here’s what she thinks of her constituents:

“I’ll give FAMU students a 2,” she said. (On a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the best) “But that’s awful because we accept them and we could help more be successful.”

While she does place some blame on the university, she basically says it’s FAMU’s fault for accepting substandard students.

LET’S KEEP IT FUNKY: I can attest to being disappointed at times in the caliber of students on campus. But I have consistently been disgusted and appalled by the leadership of the University.

That includes everyone from the rude, unhelpful employees to the disorganized administrators and some pompous, inaccessible faculty members.

Every year, there is a problem with the dispensation of football season tickets, or homecoming activity tickets, or more clubs and organizations are asked to provide more services with less funding.

You read the headlines this year, when campus employees (students, professors and others) went an entire semester and longer without receiving paychecks from FAMU.

Reflect a moment on an exchange between Bertier and Julius in “Remember the Titans,” where Bertier, the racist quarterback, accused Julius of having a poor attitude because Julius did not beg the black players to pay attention to Bertier’s calls: “Attitude reflects leadership,” Julius said.

So the leader of our University for the past two years leaves her post with a horrible attitude and turns on the students. You give the students a 2, Castell?

In 1997, U.S. News and World Report named FAMU College of the Year. We recruited more National Merit Finalists than Ivy League schools.

Florida A&M University is the No.1 producer of black baccalaureates in this country. Just last year, Black Enterprise magazine named us the No.1 School in the country for black students. But let’s understand that underneath stats and facts lie people.

People like me, are not 2’s – and neither are the students whose company I keep.

FAMU recruited me, three years ago, when I was a National Merit Finalist in the top 10 percent of my high school class with a near-perfect GPA and four AP classes.

Howard University offered me a full ride, and I was offered scholarships to Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

And I’m a 2? How so, when I have continued to excel? This summer, The New York Times selected 30 of the best student journalists in the country to be reporters in New Orleans, and I was one of them. This year, student Jessica Larche won three Hearst Awards (commonly referred to as the “College Pulitzer Prize”) in one year!

But Bryant gives FAMU students a 2 out of 4?

Girlfriend, please count these last two years as the greatest failure of your life, for you failed to walk among the 12,000 beautiful black students you were asked to serve and recognize our greatness.

Driadonna Roland is a senior broadcast journalismstudent from Detroit. She can be reached at droland_628@yahoo.com.