COPPS students speak out against faculty leadership

Famu students are celebrated after years of hard work

Due to the sensitivity of the topic at hand, all students quoted in this article have asked to remain anonymous

Last week, disappointment filled Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS) as only seven out of 80 pharmacy students passed their exit exams. This low pass rate has sparked frustration and concern among students who feel un-equipped for the exam and neglected by faculty.

Those who did not pass last week, had another chance provided this morning. Despite having more time to prepare, many remained skeptical even with the reassurance from administration regarding the test’s correlation with NAPLEX success.

Students argue that the test’s content and format differ significantly from the board exam, which casts doubt on the test’s usefulness.

“The root of the issue traces back to revelations of cheating among previous cohorts, prompting a redesign of the exam,” said an anonymous student. “However, the aftermath has left students grappling with a test that feels disconnected from their preparation and unfairly punitive in its consequences.” 

A lack of adequate preparation and assistance from faculty has contributed to students’ frustrations. Many feel as though they are left to figure out the curriculum on their own. 

Students at FAMU COPPS communicated their frustrations directly to the administration through email in a proactive effort to address their concerns. They expressed their concerns over the low passing percentage on the first comprehensive exam, highlighting the apparent lack of communication and assistance for this crucial phase of their academic journey. 

Despite their efforts to engage in constructive dialogue, the response from administration seemed to fall short of their expectations, making their feeling of disappointment even worse.

“We recently had a zoom meeting where instead of addressing the situation we received responses that diminished our concerns, discredited the hard work we’ve been doing ALONG with other responsibilities that we’ve had that could have potentially interfered with our studying,” an anonymous student said.

The Famuan sent emails to several COPPS faculty members seeking comment, but none responded. The dean of COPPS, Johnnie L. Early, told The Famuan in an email: “The College has a series of tools aimed at enhancing the chances of passing the licensure examination on the first sitting.  The comprehensive examination is aged my more than four decades.” said Early. 

Students are demanding accountability and change due to the exam’s alarming pass rate and perceived shortcomings. They demand the exam policy be reevaluated to ease undue stress and facilitate student success. 

“It shouldn’t hold us back from graduating after four years of hard work,” emphasized a former graduate. 

Students have three opportunities to pass the exam before graduation on May 4. If they do not pass, they will not be allowed to walk the stage. In this extreme case, they have two more chances over the summer to pass the exam, and if they do not, they will not receive a degree.  

This exam represents both the culmination of years of hard work and the start of their pharmacy careers. The thought of falling short and being denied the opportunity to walk at graduation is an intimidating possibility that weighs heavily on their minds.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 21 to better reflect The Famuan’s efforts to provide faculty members’ perspective.