Board of Governors Wants to Better Support State Universities in Florida

The Florida Board of Governors has for the last 18 months been striving towards new initiatives to be considered for legislation.

Various committees for the State University System met last week for a two-day Board of Governors meeting in efforts to become more of a supportive aid for colleges and universities throughout the state.

Top issues discussed were the revitalization of the 2010-2011 Annual Accountability Report along with an upgrade of online student services with the Florida College System and a recap on the PECO state school construction funds.

Included in the 26-page Annual Accountability Report document is the request for all 11 universities to comprise a “university work plan” that is to include a detailed layout of forward-looking information that would help to better resolve their challenges and visions.

The Board of Governors finalized its brand-new Strategic Plan (2012-2025) back in November. The Strategic Plan features a system that will focus primarily on productivity and excellence for all 11 universities within the State University System.

Florida A&M President James H. Ammons spoke about a crisis situation plan that could help students in the long run, instead of university budget cuts and higher tuition costs.

Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson said, “Another tuition increase is needed to offset more anticipated budget cuts and improve academic quality.”

Library system updates, academic programs and the use of web-based services were described as being an essential motive for the next couple of months.

A library task force was created to review databases and servers to detect improvements that could be done for the betterment of students. By July 2012, the goal is to have one powerful entity instead of two separate organizations that provide over 10 million unique records and 16 million purchases of the catalog to be used at no expense for students.

This includes journals, e-books, reference material and simple operational functions to connect schools across the state.

The topic of Robert Champion, a Marching ‘100′ drum major, was brought up towards the end of the meeting and addressed briefly by Florida A&M Board of Trustee Chairman, Solomon Badger.

“Our top priority is to ensure and protect everyone on our campus. While still in the process of reviewing procedures of the Marching ‘100,’ we are only allowed to release limited details due to further criminal investigation still pending and the amount of increased national attention,” Badger said.

He again outlined the Blue Ribbon Committee that was created earlier in January in honor of Robert Champion and assured that FAMU is continuing to comply with FDLE and cooperate in the ongoing investigation.

SGA President, Breyon Love had an opportunity to speak on the matter during the Board of Governors meeting as well.

Love stressed the fact that hazing is not a FAMU-only phenomenon; it is national. He expressed that the way to change the culture of hazing has to come from the students themselves with the necessary support from faculty, staff, and administration.