Pharmacy students, parents seek answers

The College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences is located on South MLK Boulevard.
Photo submitted by Alyssa Camacho

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of the few majors offered on the campus of Florida A&M University that requires its students to stay in school longer than four years.

Now it seems that some students in the college are frustrated with their matriculation. Some Second-year doctor of pharmacy candidates in COPPS are experiencing hard times and even further delayed graduation dates. 

Upper level candidates have begun to express their concerns about the pass-to-fail ratio, and the fact that failing a class will force them to restart the program from the beginning.

Students took to social media recently to discourage prospective students from applying to the program. In a united front the students circulated a photo that stated, “If you are planning to be a pharmacist don’t waste your money on FAMU Pharmacy.”

As the photo circulated on social media, it got the campus of Florida A&M talking and demanding to know more.

An anonymously written letter signed by “A Concerned Parent,” shared their concern for “the students’ wellbeing.” The letter stated that the pharmacy candidates are experiencing depression, “giving up hope, and falling physically sick.”

While the social media buzz only lasted for a day or so, the emails and phone calls have persisted.

The students and parents are even more disappointed with the lack of transparency and communication from COPPS. Emails have garnered no response and there seems to be no plans to change the issues at hand, students said.

In May of 2017 the university announced the removal of four deans, including Michael Thompson, who had been COPPS’ dean since 2011. One factor leading to his demotion was the low passing rate for FAMU students taking the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam.

In 2016 the graduating class had a 59 percent passage rate for first-time takers, thus placing the school dead last amongst 129 schools taking the exam.

Under the advisement of an interim dean the passage rate hit a 15-point jump from the previous year to 74 percent. Last August, FAMU announced the appointment of the new dean of COPPS. Johnnie L. Early II fully took on the role effective Oct 22.

Since gaining new leadership both students and parents have tried taking up their concerns with the college but have received little to no response. Now students are using social media to voice their concerns.

Attempts to get a comment from Early were not successful. Andrew Skerritt, in FAMU’s Office of Communications, also did not respond to requests for comment.