President’s forum lacks attendance



President James Ammons addressed students and faculty in Lee Hall Auditorium Wednesday evening. But before he reached the podium, Ammons asked, “Where are all the students?”

Lee Hall was far from capacity as about 20 students listened to Ammons’ statements. Students gave two main reasons for not attending: prior responsibilities or ignorance.

Chika Okafor, 20, a third year biology student from McDonough, Ga. said, “I had class personally from 2:30 until 5:45.”

Others were unaware that Ammons was speaking with students.

Tamieka Atkinson,19, a first-year chemistry student from Miami, said she received no notice of the event.

In regards to not knowing, one student government association official blamed students.  “The university did do their part,” said Michael Jefferson, 19, SGA secretary of academic affairs and second-year chemical engineering students from Indianapolis. “We [students] just didn’t do our part in reading what they put up there.”

 The communications office disseminated forum information through FAMU’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, Ammons’ Twitter and FAMU Info.  Atkinson said that she did not receive any E-mail but does not check her FAMmail account.

 Ammons talked about FAMU’s achievements, budget cuts, and the need to “restructure” the university.  He called for every “stakeholder” collaborating to alleviate the budget cuts’ financial stress. After his address, Ammons took questions from students. Questions ranged from financial aid issues, library hours, to repercussions for incompetent faculty.

Overall, students praised Ammons for holding the forum.  It offered contact with university officials.

“I would like there to be more of these forums,” said Azryana Campbell, 22, senior bio-chemistry student from Panama City. “Cause this is really almost as close as we can get with our university leaders.”

Campbell said that she wishes more students would have come because “there is strength in numbers.”

Another forum will be held March 23, 2011.