FAMU hosts forums to give students an active voice to express their opinions about budget cuts

The university will hold “Campus Talk” forums next for students to voice their opinions about proposed budget cuts. The first set will be held on April 5 at 6 p.m. in the Cropper Hall basement, and the second forum will be held on April 6 in the Phase II Activity Room.Florida A&M President James Ammons gave students and faculty an update about the university budget. For more than an hour, Ammons spoke about additional fee increases to the crowd gathered in Lee Hall on March 24. In total, there is a possible 15 percent tuition increase for students.“There will be tuition increases by a base [rate] of eight percent,” said Ammons. “A seven percent increase to the differential fee is still debatable.”Ammons hopes to begin a professional dental program within the next three years despite proposed budget cuts. However, the addition of a program was a secondary concern for most students following the forum. The students were most disturbed by the proposed tuition increases.“I’m surprised and upset [by the possible] tuition increases. It makes me wonder if the administration is really putting the students’ best interests first,” said Stephen Okon, a second-year pharmacy major from Miami. “I’m happy [about] having a dental school. It’s showing that we’re looking toward expanding and growing our university.”Students also voiced their concerns about the administrations ability to manage the university finances and how that relates to student fee increases. Timothy Harmon, a third-year business administration major from Jacksonville was alarmed by possible tuition increases. “I think a deeper look into the spending of funds and management of funds should be considered,” Harmon said.FAMU students Aarmondas Walker, a computer engineering and business administration student, and Lisa-Kay Ramsay, a third-year accounting student from Fort Lauderdale, were pleased with the presidents being open with students about university issues.“The forum today was very informative,” said Walker. “I applaud the president for keeping [everyone] well informed of things that are going on in the university.”Ramsey echoed Walkers statement, “I enjoyed being informed about the [budget] crisis and [being able] to express our opinions.”