University must do a better job when it comes to communication

Clarity. That is what students at Florida A&M University need and deserve.

That is also what we do not get. With any organization, clear communication is critical.

Communication ensures things run smoothly, and that everyone knows his or her role.

Information should flow from the top down, starting with organizational leadership and going to each and every member.

As I learned last week, this communication process could use a little work at FAMU.

I am a scholarship recipient under the Presidential Scholars Program.

I had a monetary issue to resolve, so I stopped by the Career Center building where the Office of Scholarships and Recruitment was-and I do mean was.

A sign on the door said the department had relocated to the admissions department in Foote-Hilyer.

I was specifically looking for Robert Malone, a student affairs coordinator who was identified as the point of contact for Presidential Scholars.

Many students know and love Malone because he is forthright, friendly and honest with the advice he dispenses.

However, when I found him, he offered only this harsh bit of advice, “From now on, take your scholarship questions to financial aid.”

I went to financial aid, and received the “excellence with caring” that we have all come to expect; I was told to come back at 2 p.m.

When I came back, and asked for a certain person, the answer was, “I haven’t seen her since lunch.”

I left a message for her Thursday that has yet to be returned.

I was also told to take my question to Student Accounts, but anyone who visits Foote-Hilyer knows the Student Accounts window has been closed for at least a couple of months.

As an out-of-state student, my tuition is almost five times that of in-state students. This means that my scholarship is vital. It is what brought me to, and what keeps me at, FAMU. But it must be managed properly.

Therefore, it is important to have a reliable point of contact so I can consult. For the past two years, this has been in place. But when it changed, students should have been properly notified.

Let me know that the person I have come to trust can no longer help me and that I must now engage in a game of good, old fashioned FAMU run-around.

Not only have I come to expect to be able to go through the Office of Scholarships and Recruitment for my issues, my parents have come to expect this as well.

I am left to wonder if any other changes have taken place with my aid and if I will be notified of them.

Poor communication can lead to discouragement, low morale and other problems. If there was a meeting where the students were informed of changes to come, perhaps I missed it.

But there is some information that is too important to only be relayed orally. Some information deserves enough attention to be written down and mailed to students and parents.

In the future, I hope the university learns that proper communication is not based on hearsay and should be disseminated before, not after, events take place.

Signs on the door of an empty hallway will not do any more.

As a wise man once said, “Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.”

Driadonna Roland, 19, is a sophomore public relations student from Detroit. She can be reached at