Staff Ed.: Changes Come and Go, Students’ Needs are Forever

The restructuring of anything is not an easy task.

Go home and try to restructure a bedroom. Or a living room.

It takes hours of planning, an appropriate amount of vision, people to help move and shape things and the finished product must, above all else, be head and shoulders better than what came before.

Imagine trying to do this at a university of more than 10,000 students with millions of dollars at stake and the future of the biggest and – arguably – best historically black university on the planet. The scale of this project is enormous and the pressure unimaginable.

Florida A&M is going to have to grow in the face of cuts, layoffs and budget slashes. The powers that be have to make tough decisions about what stays and what/who needs to go.

These cuts will shape the university and the students who attend it for years. The future is here and the ability to stay competitive in the world market should be first and foremost in the minds of everyone involved in what could change the face of FAMU or ruin it.

Many schools and colleges within the university are breathing steadily at this point.

No one can breathe easy, but a certain level of comfort should be afforded to the larger schools that bring notoriety to Florida A&M. Other programs are on life support and the debate is about whether or not to pull the plug.

What programs stay and go will be a subject of debate, ridicule and exasperation over the next few weeks. The foreign language program in particular – French and Spanish languages – seems to be getting the short end of the restructuring stick.

It is still a mystery where a hip hop institute is more valuable than foreign languages, regardless of whether or not the classes are still offered.

Changes will happen. Whether or not they are for the best is up for debate. Whether or not this university will remain the face of HBCUs over the next 10 years is up for debate. What is not, and will never be, debatable are the needs of students.

Students will need foreign languages. If they have to go other places to get them, they will. The argument floating around for now is the classes will stay, however the major will go.

What if students want advanced, major-level training in a foreign language? Or what about adding in new languages instead of taking old ones away?

If FAMU can not provide for its students, please believe another university happily will.