University restricts travel for faculty and staff

The travel section of Florida A&M University Controller’s Office has been directed not to accept travel requests until July 1, 2009, unless they are approved beforehand, due to the state budget shortfall.     

The limitations placed on travel comes from Chapter 2009-15, Laws of Florida, which states, “Funds appropriated to each state agency, which maybe be used for travel by state employees be limited to travel for activities that are critical to the state agency’s mission.”     
Travel by faculty to foreign countries, other states, and conferences are not funded unless they are critical to the mission of the university. 

Teresa Hardee, university chief financial officer, said travel will be approved on a case by case basis.    

“Only travel that is critical to the mission of the individual departments [or] offices will be approved,” Hardee said. “All justifications will be reviewed and approved on a case by case basis.”       

Some students believe the travel restrictions will help save the school money and travel is only necessary if it will benefit the university.   

Jasmine Davenport, 19, a junior political science student from Little Rock, Ark., was one of these students.             

“I believe it is a good idea because it will save the school a lot of money that we need,” Davenport said. “Limiting travel to activities that are critical for the mission of this university is the best thing to do.”         

Hardee said it is estimated the university will save approximately $820,000 by restricting travel.

Roscoe Hightower Jr., marketing professor and faculty senator, said the law is understandable but there is a need to plan for the future.   

“There is a significant need to plan for the future with high emphasis on education… we are prepared to meet the challenges of the future in terms of maintaining faculty development,” Hightower said.         

Hightower added that travel restrictions will meet short-term fiscal challenges but might be more harmful in the end.       

“If we don’t support faculty professional development and training, we meet short term fiscal challenges but maybe harm ourselves long-term with maintaining quality levels in the various fields,” Hightower said.             

Hightower said the faculty senate has approved the FAMU Faculty Senate Travel Grant.     

The FFSTGs are small travel assistant awards that are designed to support faculty members who help in the advancement of FAMU. 

FFSTGs provide support to faculty who want to attend professionals meeting, conferences, workshops, and other activities that aid in professional development.     
For more information on the FFSTGs visit the faculty senate office or call 850-599-3023.