Friday, April 18, 2014

Bill Proctor: Thrasher’s proposal doesn’t include a penny for FAMU

A Tallahassee Democrat op-ed by Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor called attention to the fact that Sen. John Thrasher’s proposal to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering doesn’t include any money to help FAMU build an independent program. FSU controls most of the money that pays the current college’s faculty and Thrasher hasn’t offered one cent for FAMU to conduct any faculty replacement hiring.

If FAMU doesn’t receive the money to replace all of the FSU faculty members who leave during the split, then it won’t be able to meet the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET) accreditation requirements for all of the current degree programs.

From Proctor’s op-ed:

Sen. John Thrasher declares his budget amendment to separate the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering would strengthen Florida State’s stride toward becoming a Top 25 public (taxpayer-supported) university.

Like Gov. George Wallace, why are Thrasher and the Senate, legislatively speaking, standing in the doorway of the College of Engineering and decreeing that FAMU students cannot come in? In effect, Thrasher and the senators want FAMU’s students to get out and stay out of engineering sciences at FSU. Does “pre-eminence” mean that students from a black school are not welcome to tag along and mess up the white members-only society?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Montford loud in seeking Rattler votes, but quiet on threat to FAMU’s engineering programs

State Sen. Bill Montford in the 2013 FAMU Homecoming Parade
State Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, hasn’t been shy about asking for Rattler votes. When homecoming season rolls around, he’s quick to put on Orange & Green clothes, wave at FAMU fans during the downtown parade, and tell everyone how much he cares about the university.

This has helped his political career. Back during his reelection bid in 2012, the FAMU Grand Ballroom precinct (#1309) contributed 1930 votes to his victory. The Florida State University campus precinct at Salley Hall (#2503) only gave him 553 votes.

But despite all of his talk about wanting to look out for FAMU, Montford was very quiet during the recent Florida Senate debate over the future of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Former FAMU presidents release statement opposing division of FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Earlier this week, a group of five former FAMU presidents released the following open letter in response to a legislative proposal to divide the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering:

As former leaders of Florida A&M University, we oppose the move to decouple the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and consider this a sudden and unplanned act, void of discussion and input from the current leadership of the two universities, the university Boards of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors. This action sends the wrong message to the citizens of Florida, and other interested parties, about how the Legislature and academic institutions should interact.

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is a strong program that represents a successful collaboration for the State of Florida between two research institutions with elements of their student populations woefully underrepresented in engineering disciplines. Through this long-term collaborative effort, the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering has received high praise for addressing this nationwide dilemma.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FAMU tops UF’s February first-try bar passage rate, again

The FAMU College of Law achieved a 72.2 percent first-try passage rate on the February 2014 Florida Bar Examination. That was 7.5 points higher than the University of Florida, which had a 64.7 percent first-try passage rate.

FAMU also topped UF on the 2013 February Bar Examination. For that exam, FAMU’s first-try passage rate was 82.6 percent and UF’s was 72.7 percent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

1973: HEW tells Florida to get rid of separate-but-equal in public higher ed or lose $70M

The Florida Capitol building in 1973
Back in 1973, the Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) told the State of Florida that it was still carrying out a separate-but-equal operation in its State University System. Federal officials said that if the state didn’t begin complying in honesty with Congressional laws that mandated the desegregation of higher education, then Florida would lose $70M in federal money.

A St. Petersburg Times article from 1973 reported that: “Florida has until April 8 to submit a plan to replace one rejected Nov. 13 or face the loss of about $70-million in federal funds, mostly research grants.”

If inflation is taken into account, that $70M from 1973 would be about $370M today.

The State of Florida avoided losing those tens of millions of federal dollars by entering into a desegregation consent decree with the HEW Civil Rights Office. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FAMU team competes as national finalist in Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

L-R: Roslyn Shanklin, Kimberlyn Elliott, Coach Vivian Hobbs, Baysha Bernales, and Aubrey Upshur, III.
The brainpower of FAMU students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is on display at the 25th Annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament held on the campus of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., in Torrance, Calif.

FAMU students, along with hundreds of students representing HBCUs from across the nation, have spent the past year diligently preparing to compete in the final round of the HCASC academic tournament.

FAMU is represented by Baysha Bernales from Hawthorne, Fla.; Kimberlyn Elliott from Gainesville, Fla.; Roslyn Shanklin from New Haven, Conn. and Aubrey Upshur III from Philadelphia, Pa. Retired FAMU Professor Vivian L. Hobbs is coaching the team.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

FAMU student named “Advocate of the Year” by AIPAC

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) named FAMU graduate student Julian Coakley a 2014 “Advocate of the Year” at its national policy conference in Washington, D.C.

Coakley, who is pursuing a Master of Applied Social Sciences with a concentration in public administration, was one of only six students to receive the award and the only student representing a historically black college or university (HBCU) among the group.

According to AIPAC, the “Advocate of the Year” award honors “inspiring individuals who demonstrate advocacy at its best and – with courage and conviction – exert a compelling influence on a national level.”

During the conference, Coakley was also selected out of 10,000 participating students and community activists to serve on the AIPAC national committee, a panel of approximately 150 advocates, activists and officials from around the nation.