Ammons maintains positive attitude despite further cuts

Budget cuts and closed positions were the highlight of President James Ammons’ State of the University Address on Monday. A crowd of about 200 people sat in the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center, the majority appearing to be Florida A&M employees. As Ammons spoke there was a bleak look upon many faces.“Today I am here to tell you that the legislature is discussing another cut of up to 15 percent from our already depleted fiscal budget,” he said.Ammons explained that, “FAMU had to make cuts across the board last year,” and “was actually able to retain almost all of its employees; but now the university cannot afford to keep all of its employees.” From a student’s prospective, seeing the university in financial crisis is saddening. While I feel sympathy for those persons on FAMU’s payroll, I also thought in the back of my mind: How will this affect the student body? Will this financial deficiency hinder our programs?Are other universities in trouble?According to a Feb. 15 South Florida Business-Journal report, Florida universities suffered more than $147 million in budget cuts in 2008-2009. Additional cuts in next year’s budget are expected.The Tallahassee Democrat reported that Governor Charlie Crist made a budget proposal that would help universities obtain $100 million in extra revenue without raising tuition. Perhaps this is a ray of hope and a way to recover lost funds. The student body, professors, directors and every FAMU employee must believe that our university can survive. Faith and work go together.FAMU can sustain itself as long at it has support from the university community. As scary as it may seem, this is a battle that we must not fear.“This will be a defining moment in FAMU’s history; the storm clouds are gathering again,” said Ammons. He added that the university must… “document its services and think about working in a very different manner.”Ammons told everyone that, although he believes FAMU will be a very different place on July 1, 2010, he knows that it will continue its legacy of excellence.Do not be discouraged concerning FAMU’s finances. Instead, let us work hard to preserve the legacy of this great learning institution. As Ammons ended his address: “FAMU yesterday, FAMU today, FAMU forever.”