Budget cuts prompt merger talk

Florida State University is considering a dual program with Florida A&M University as the school may face a possible 21-program elimination due to proposed budget cuts for the next fiscal year.

FSU’s Provost Lawrence Abele, said no final decisions have been made on whether the university would cut any programs until the final budget is delivered.  A possible $77 million could be cut from the school’s budget, according to Abele.                           

Abele said the possibility of eliminating programs from the curriculum may lead to a consideration of creating a co-op program with FAMU. 

“We definitely would do that,” Abele said. “We would also be in-touch with [Cynthia Hughes-Harris] about what we’d be doing in-case the programs that we offer were phasing out for students who wanted to transfer.”

Abele explained that closing a program doesn’t happen immediately.

“Any program that’s cut will take two years to close because we have to make sure upperclassmen are getting their degrees,” Abele said.

FAMU provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris said FSU’s consideration to work closely with Rattlers may be a positive action and relationship.    

“Any opportunity to increase the number of good quality students that we have is an advantage to FAMU,” Hughes-Harris said. “Most certainly we’ll open our doors to students of any of the universities, FSU included. Any university that closes a program, and if we have a program that they no longer have in other schools, we will certainly open our doors to those students.”

FSU student reactions to the possible curriculum eliminations were mixed. A protest has been planned today from 9:30 p.m. to midnight at the state’s capitol to save the art program.

“I personally find it completely ridiculous,” said Nick Parparnian, 21, a senior studio art student at FSU, who said he will participate in the protest. “The art department here at FSU has been apart of the curriculum for 103 years.”

Clarence Jackson, 28, a former FAMU visual art students, said he has mixed feelings about the possible curriculum changes.

“It’s kind of spooky for me,” said Jackson, a current senior sculpture student at FSU.  “I’m in sculpture and studio art so that would mean dropping the program that I’m doing.

Hopefully I graduate before then, but it directly affects me. That would be a very bad thing.”
Hughes-Harris said program removals at FAMU are contingent on the final 2009-2010 school year’s budget,  just like FSU.

“We have various scenarios that we have created, but cannot act on any of them until we know…the final budget,” Hughes-Harris said. “But, if our budget is cut significantly, then we certainly will be looking at opportunities to meet the budget.”