Saturday, December 15, 2018

FAMU student awarded Rangel Fellowship

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Honor Student Association President Jeffrey Simmons is making a name for himself and FAMU in the nation’s capital.  Simmons has been awarded the prestigious Charles B. Rangel Fellowship in International Affairs for 2019.

Named for former New York Congressman Charles Rangel, the fellowship is a program administered by Howard University that seeks to prepare young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State.

Simmons, who is majoring in political science at FAMU, completed a summer internship in communications with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.  He says of the Fellowship, “This is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to learning more about the Foreign Service and how our foreign policy initiatives affect the world.”

The program encourages applications from members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and those interested in helping shape a more secure and prosperous world through formulating, representing and implementing U.S. foreign policy.

Friday, December 14, 2018

FAMU punter Chris Faddoul named to AP’s All-America first team

Florida A&M University sophomore punter Chris Faddoul was named first team NCAA FCS All-America by the Associated Press Tuesday afternoon.

The native of Wesley Chapel, Florida averaged a school record 46.8 yards per kick (on 41 attempts) in 2018, leading the nation (FCS) since mid-September.

He finished the season earning first-team All-America honors from Boxtorow, the Black College All-America team, as well as first-team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) honors.

Faddoul is the first FAMU football player to earn first team AP All America honors since return specialist Leroy Vann in 2009.

His punting average surpassed the previous Rattler season high of 45.9 set by first team All-America Wesley Taylor in 2005, which was also the nation's top average that season.

Faddoul finished the 2018 season with 16 punts of 50 yards or longer, with 17 downed inside the opposing teams’ 20-yard line, with a long kick of 67 yards on Nov. 17 in the Florida Blue Florida Classic against Bethune-Cookman, one of two 60-yard punts in that game.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

History-maker Jerry Demings to address FAMU’s fall graduates

Nearly 700 graduates will cross the stage into the next chapter of their lives during the Florida A&M University (FAMU) fall commencement ceremonies on Friday, December 14 at 6 p.m., and Saturday, December 15 at 9 a.m.

The ceremonies will be held in the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium.  Events will include Army and Navy commissioning programs that will take place during Saturday’s ceremony.

Graduates will be awarded degrees from the University’s 14 colleges and schools ranging from public relations and physics to education and economics. They will be addressed by a Floridian who has made history in both law enforcement and government three times – newly elected Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry L. Demings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

FAMU’s accreditation reaffirmed through 2028 by regional accrediting body

Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Larry Robinson announced that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmed FAMU’s accreditation for another 10 years during its annual conference in New Orleans. The board of the regional accrediting body on Tuesday shared the good news with Robinson, FAMU administrators and other member institutions attending the conference December 8-11.

“This is a testament to the hard work and preparation of our faculty, staff and students,” said Robinson. “I would like to thank SACSCOC, FAMU’s Board of Trustees, our SACSCOC Leadership Team and all stakeholders in Tallahassee and campuses in Crestview, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa for their support throughout this rigorous process. This is an example of the collaborative spirit and great achievement, and outcome that we want each and every time.”

A University-wide team submitted FAMU’s Compliance Certification Report to an off-site SACSCOC committee in September 2017. In March 2018, an on-site SACSCOC review committee, composed of eight faculty and administrators from other SACSCOC accredited institutions, visited the University’s main campus in Tallahassee, the College of Law in Orlando and the College of Pharmacy’s Crestview site. Committee members met with faculty, administrators, students and staff as part of a review process that occurs every 10 years.

As part of the reaffirmation process, FAMU also developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), “Write On FAMU.” This new QEP is designed to enhance the writing skills of students through strategic initiatives and investments in resources and infrastructure.

After its review, the on-site committee did not have any recommendations for FAMU. This is the most favorable outcome that a university can receive from an on-site review by the SACSCOC.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Construction oversight problems throughout SUS prompt action by BOG

Back in September, the Florida Board of Governors launched a review of all funding for construction projects over the past 10 years in response to a scandal at the University of Central Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel reported: “Board of Governors Chair Ned Lautenbach sent a letter to all of the state’s university presidents and board chairs asking them to review funding sources for all projects approved since July 1, 2008.” The letter went out on September 19th.

University of Central Florida

The BOG took the action after then-Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran blasted UCF leaders for misusing $38M in Education & General dollars. UCF spent the money to build the new Trevor Colbourn Hall even though E&G dollars aren’t supposed to be used for construction projects.

“I am baffled by how the actions of one irresponsible officer’s effort at flouting the Legislature’s and state university system’s budget controls could result in a four-year-long unauthorized endeavor of this magnitude,” Corcoran wrote. “There are only two possibilities: that others within UCF were aware of and conspired in this misuse of public funds, or your administration lacks the necessary internal controls to manage its fiscal responsibilities.”

Corcoran asked the incoming House speaker to lead an investigation into the issue. Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has appointed Corcoran to serve as the next Florida commission of education.

Monday, December 10, 2018

UCF misused $38M in state appropriations on building project

The University of Central Florida misused $38M for a recent building project on its campus.

A statement by the UCF Board of Trustees said: “UCF used incorrect funds for the construction of Trevor Colbourn Hall, which was originally approved in 2014. The funding source, state Education & General dollars, cannot be used to pay for the construction of new buildings… The issue was included in a Florida Auditor General preliminary finding, which was first discussed with the UCF administration in late August.”

It added that: “In addition to the E&G dollars inappropriately used in Trevor Colbourn Hall, UCF has identified additional money that was inappropriately spent on construction projects during the past five years.”

An article in the Orlando Sentinel went into more detail about what happened.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

FAMU’s management of construction projects draws ire of state auditor

FAMU Center for Access and Student Success
In FAMU’s most recent operational audit, state auditors took issue with the university’s management of the construction contract for the Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) building currently under construction in the parking lot between Gaither Gym and Gibbs Hall. Specifically, auditors sighted FAMU for not providing providing proper documentation and for not verifying bills issues by the contractor related to the general conditions cost a $3.6 million on the building.  General conditions cost typically generally related to issues that don't involve swinging a hammer or installing something permanently --- site management, material handling, and project management.

University records not provided

Auditors "requested University records to evaluate whether the CASS Project general conditions costs (both non-personnel and personnel costs) were effectively negotiated and monitored. To demonstrate the University’s efforts to effectively negotiate general conditions non-personnel contract costs. University personnel provided a documented evaluation by a consulting company of these costs in the draft GMP contract and University revisions to the GMP contract for general conditions non-personnel costs based on the recommendations."

“(Although) we requested, University records were not provided to demonstrate the reasonableness of the general conditions personnel costs included in the contract,” auditors wrote in their finding.