Monday, February 19, 2007

Unpaid students face eviction and loss of electricity

Sunday night, the FAMUAN staff voiced their frustration with the administration's empty promises and shared stories of eviction notices and disconnected utilities before quitting. Even the FAMUAN editor has her lights turned off.

By the end of the night, 14 out of 17 members of The Famuan staff went on strike.

Read more: University does't support excellence

FAMU staff walks out over lack of pay

Because of the University's failure to issue paychecks to the staff of The Famuan, the student newspaper of Florida A&M University, several staff members are on strike.

The staff members walked out after a Sunday meeting with Dean James Hawkins and Journalism Division Director Dorothy Bland of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication and the newspaper's co-advisers James Stephens and Valerie D. White.

Hawkins said he would request on-demand payments for the students of The Famuan first thing this morning.

Continue reading: Newspaper staff walks out

Castell clueless

Pay makes news

Pay issue has Castell pointing fingers

Lack of pay may cause workers to quit

Check isn't in the mail

No pay for TAs and Adjuncts

Checks short/TAs go without

Some professors not being paid


Anonymous said...

I can't figure out for the life of me how anyone with "multiple years of administrative" experience would not be able to figure out how to pay 400 employees two months into the semester. As one politician recently stated about finger pointing, "The only rear view mirror we need is the one in our cars." Castell or Deborah or who ever is responsible, please for the sake of the students that are relying on these funds, pay them with the same diligence that you would take if one of your checks or your children's checks were late.

What will history say about your administration; an administration that followed one of the most hated in FAMU’s history, behind Howard’s, Gray’s and of course Smith’s. Dr. Bryant could have really put her stamp of the history of FAMU by being the first female ever “selected” as interim president but with her ruthless approach to the Faculty, Staff, and Student body, she will be more hated that William H. Gray Sr. (for those that remember those years). Indeed when our grandchildren read this chapter of our history they will be thankful that the institution survived five years of incompetent, spineless (Ganious), uncaring, destructive (Bryant) leadership. Sadly for Bryant, she could have been viewed in the same lenses of Gore or Perry, but she choose not to.

Anonymous said...

The years under Gore were not the best because he returned money back to the State every year saying that FAMU did not need it. Dr. Perry provided awesome leadership. We know it will be a matter of opinions. Historians will only record the achievements and accomplishments under any president. The achievements will include the enrollment, number of buildings, funds raised and the increase in the number of programs. Our feelings will not go down in history. As much damage as CVB has done will not be a part of the history of FAMU. She has not achieved anything for which she will be remembered. Her reduction in student enrollment, decrease in funding, and bad audits will follow her into history. What a shame? It is our hope that she comes clean and admit that her dirty tricks and lies is what has taken the University down to its lowest level.

Anonymous said...

RN check to make sure that this is indeed the fault of university administrations. Many times departments overspend their OPS dollars. Could it be that the new system keeps departments honest to their actual OPS budget?

Just maybe some of these departments hired more people than their budget permitted.

I can't go to the bank and demand $100 from an overdrawn account just because I'm a customer.

If department X spent it's money unwisely you can't expect for the university to bail them out.

This is not to excuse the administration or who ever might be a fault. But this problem has a real cause and addressing the real cause is clearly real difficult.

RN if you can please look deeper here. And everybody else stop "hating" so much.

This is a shame. Maybe we need to find out away to help these kids at least keep the lights on. I'm up for that. During the next Alumni Meeting we should pass the hat and someone should go around to some of these churches and ask them to pony up.

RN you helped us get a new administration. If you are close to the people working to solve this, offer some suggestions to help these poor children out.

As hurrican katrina demostrated, FEMA with a big buck, is sometimes less effective than a church with a little shovel.

Anonymous said...

These students were hired on some kind of contract. Before the department can request that any employees come to work, the funding must be in place for that payment. Before we start passing the hat, we need to find out how the administration certfied or approved the contracts without proper funding being in place. I believe people are more critical of CVB and her team because of her mean-spirited actions and lies. She continues to lie and cover-up rather than tell the simple truth. The same things she criticized Gainous for has come back to "haunt" her and her team. I think the real FAMU alumni supporters have spoken and we just want to see this "Nightmare" end ASAP. CVB just needs to be honest and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If she would only tell the truth, she might leave with some sort of dignity.

Anonymous said...

CVB will never have any dignity to leave with, no matter what she does, especially so at this point.

Anonymous said...

2/19/2007 1:39 PM Wrote:
Before the department can request that any employees come to work, the funding must be in place for that payment. Before we start passing the hat, we need to find out how the administration certfied or approved the contracts without proper funding being in place.

You are absolutely correct, but the funding is not always in place and the systems to verify funding is often several pay periods behind. In other words. You withdraw money from your bank on the 1st but it takes until the 15th before your bank statement reflects the transaction.

That's a systems problem, an administrations concern, and a department's incompetency. The departments need better and more responsible budget managers. Some budget managers have no clue, others know the vunerabilities and just exploit them, and still others figure "Jesus" is going to work things out.

Certifying the funds is ok at the start, but that's not the end of it. Once the budget period gets underway the department has to manage it. It's at this level that things go south. For example, Some OPS workers are contracted to work 10 hours, but will report 15. Now imagine that happening with 2 or 3 better yet 15 or 25 of your employees. If you are not careful, its easy to get the budget out of wack. The next semester starts, you are in a whole, and instead of pulling back and laying off, they close their eyes, tell the students to come to work and just hope the semester ends before the "@#!*" hits the fan.

CVB might have something to do with alot of stuff, but she might not. Things need to work better, systems need to work better, people need to work better and processes need to work better.

The FAMUan is only going to tell the story from their perspective. Remember, the FAMUan is the media, and the media seldom takes the blame.

It's obvious the #$@! hit the fan but the question is who's shit is it.

Anonymous said...

Now is not the time to figure out whose sh*t it is but to pay the people for the work that they have done up to this point. Then after that, find out what went wrong because as we all know the City of Tallahassee doesn't care that your employeer didn't pay you, all they care about is getting paid. Lets not treat our students and staff like this and then blame others for their lack of payment.

my two pennies... said...

So has the SGA taken a stance on this at all?? I dunno how much of an effect they'd have, but it would be good to know that they've got the student body's back on this!

Anonymous said...

So are you saying pay them anyway and allow them to continue working? Who cares about the deficit? See this is the attitude that gets us in trouble. This is exactly what we mean by "hard choices." Decisions of convenience is not always the answer.

If people worked, pay them and pay them now especially if its overdue. But if the money for future work is absorbed in the process, you have got to let them go. Period. At least until the department identifies a source of funds.

Pay people for what we owe but it is absolutely irresponsible to allow them to continue to work when we don't "know" if we have the money. That's probably why we have the problem we have now.

Unfortunately, services will slow down, for example the FAMUan instead of publishing 3 times a week, go back to twice or once a week.

So pay them the money and tell them to go find another job. Otherwise you are condoning the same deficit nonsense for the sake of convenience.

So, we are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Anonymous said...

$5 says that the Bryant admin is not paying the students b/c THERE IS NO MONEY TO PAY THEM!

That is the deficit for yo ass. It comes out somewhere. Either the grass doesn't get cut, the bathrooms don't get cleaned, or someone doesn't get paid.

FAMU is probably out of money and will need a state bail out to keep things running. We've turned in Texas Southern people.

JJ said...

Student government hasn't done anything. Agnew's talking about how they'd never strike. That's BULLSHIT. U teach people how to treat u. The reason FAMU keeps getting away with this shit is b/c folk don't complain and keep working like good little sheeple. I'm so fed up right now its not even funny. The Department of Labor will be hearing from me.

Anonymous said...

Agnew is an apologists. He is neglecting his responsibility to the student. If he wants to work for free, that's his choice, but his constituents never bargained to work for free. And because of that, he should be fighting for them instead of trying to further his public image by challenging the Martin Lee Anderson case.

Anonymous said...

So with that being said (blogger 4:39), what should we do, tell the adjuncts not to finish this semester while many students are enrolled in their classes and some may even depend on them to graduate this semester. Tell the students that already signed their contacts to go find jobs, when at the start of the semester they assumed that they already had one. The sad truth is that a tough decision must be made not only by the executive branch but by deans and chairs; these people must come up with the funds to pay their part timers and student employees. If not, what graduate student in their right mind would accept an assistantship at FAMU knowing this situation, while Bryant and other are continually pointing fingers rather than fixing the problem. Let me be clear, I agree with your assessment that the budget issues needs to be addressed and quickly, but when you are playing with the livelihood of people and in this case students you must come to a quick solution in paying them then work on the budgeting issue. Also, we have to stop this victim blaming, because the student and adjuncts did their part, by signing their contracts and performing their duties. To be told that “if you don’t come to work then you will be terminated,” shows a lack of class and tact particularly when it pertains to this situation, especially when these people have not upheld their end of the contract.

The better question now is can FAMU survive this crisis, with the PAPAS report on the agenda for discussion later in the semester. One poster on TDO has argued that while FAMU supporter have asked to be a level one research institution, we can't take care of the basics. For many, perception is reality, and this bit of reality hurts badly right now. This type of large scale mishap seems to have conveniently come at a “bad” time, for the “conspiracy theorists” out there; this does seem that CVB could have done this to show our lack of ability to serve as a level one research institution.

Anonymous said...

Now I see the SET UP has begun. Students Striking and adjuncts quiting and no one geting paid! Yet, they all wait until less than a month until Ammons come on board as the President. I dont remember any adjuncts or students for that matter striking and or quiting when Gainous and Bryant were running the ENTIRE GOT DA*N University into the ground! Well as an Alumnus I am ready to put my money behind the Ammons team and I mean money that can be taken to the bank. As for the people who are continuing the destruction of our University, Walter Smith, Lowe, Allen, Tyson, Jekins, Branker, Bryant, Gainous who is still making over 250,000 dollars a year!

Maybe the money isn't here because our inept Board gave Bryant a 35,000 dollar "gift" for a job UNDONE! And they are suppose to oversee the well being of our University?

Anonymous said...

As for the people that I named(6:12 pm) may they suffer for their deeds and may they go to He** with their white masters who control them and their greed!And the Board should Demand the money back that they gave Bryant!

Anonymous said...

Agnew has been representing the FAMU students effectively. He cast the decisive vote for Dr. James Ammons, the candidate favored by the student body. He also publicly took Thelma Thomspon to task during her interview for the terrible UMES audit.

Although he hasn't called media attention to it, Agnew has been working behind the scenes to put fire under the Bryant administration to get the checks out. Of course he hasn't stopped working, it's his job to continue to fight for the students -- paycheck or no paycheck.

While Agnew has not taken the possibility of demonstrations off the table, but he's trying to work for internal solutions right now. He's the one the students elected to lead, so let him do what he needs to do.

It seems like Agnew can't win. When he goes straight to the media, you call him a publicity hound. When he tries to work behind the spotlight, you say he's a do-nothing leader.

Anonymous said...

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to see it fall, does the tree make a sound?

If Agnew was doing something, he would have spoken out a long time ago on this issue. As stated before, he didn't hesitate to go on television and the news to address the Martin Lee Anderson case. And now, after finally speaking publicly on the issue, he berates those individuals who refuse to work for free! The guy has a lot of nerves.

Anonymous said...

Agnew never berated the students who decided to strike. He simply said that he and his staff in SGA were not going to stop working.

Most of the staff at The FAMUan decided to go on strike. The editor-in-chief did not. She stated that although she respected her staff's decision to walk out, she felt that she had a personal obligation to continue working because of the importance of her job. That's the same position that Agnew took.

Many of the administration-level resolutions that are necessary to help FAMU are done behind closed-doors. Agnew got on television for the Martin Lee Anderson issue because he thought it was best option. He's chosen to work behind-the-scenes on the pay check issue because he believes that it is the best option -- for the time being. However, he's made it clear that he has not taken demonstrations, press conferences, and other tactics off the table.

Agnew has to be strategic in his public positions. During the presidential search process, he did not come out and openly express his support for Dr. Ammons. He kept quiet and simply made his move at the time and place at which it would be most effective. He's doing the same thing on the late pay issue.

While students are frustrated over the late pay issue, the over whelming majority of the student body continues to vigorously support Agnew. The current SGA presiden has proven himself time and time again. This time will be no different.

Anonymous said...

Adjuncts are one thing the FAMUan is another - completely different funding sources. The staff at the FAMUan is on strike because the FAMUan budget managers over staffed. Now the University has to suffer yet another public relations blow. Come on now, the budget managers for the FAMUan should be ashamed of themselves. Find out if they had the money to support the contracted obligations. If they didn't, find out if they knew they didn't but went ahead and submitted the contracts anyway. And if that is the case, somebody is trippin.

In January, from my understanding, the University switched to new payroll system. Maybe the new system is exposing and correcting old problems-serious OPS deficient spending, brought about by incompetent budget managers or the derelict supervisors and directors who approved these contracts. So there just may be some good news here.

Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned about the people who are affected by this. Who wouldn’t be? But sorry, I have no love and no compassion for this kind of stuff. Budget managers are suppose to see this stuff coming and make the adjustments in "managed" manner; a manner that does not result in strikes and bad publicity.

As for the rest of the campus, we can expect some problems when we switch to a different system. That's called working the kinks out. The problem is those good employees in personnel are more than likely spending most of their time trying to fix the mess of the most serious abusers (not pointing fingers, and correct me if i'm wrong, but journalism seem disproportionately impacted) while other departments, with minor kinks have to wait in line.

The delay. Problems like these take a few weeks before they rise to the level of adminstative concern. People on the director and at most AVP levels are suppose have this kind of stuff together - that's their job. But once the problem reach the Executive level (where other real fires like BOT, Presidential search, Band Superbowl, Pharmacy Accredidation, SACS, etc. are being managed), it takes a moment for any leadership team to figure out the extent, the impact, the options and the most feasible alternative. Meanwhile you have to ask what $%@*wholes, even if a VP, let this get out of proportion.

The sqeaky wheel gets the grease. But what about the wheel that doesn't sqeak? Somebody needs to pay for this one. Fired or reassigned.

JJ said...

To the last commenter u obviously don't know what u're talking about. Journalism isn't any more affected then the rest of the campus we're just more vocal about it.

Our budget is approved by Graduate Studies NOT the Journalism schol. Before our contracts can be in place it has to be determined that the money is there for those contracts.

In J-Schools case the GAs haven't even signed a contract yet for this semester. The only reason we got checks (partial checks) is because we've been talking to any media outlet that will listen.

The FAMUAN has a similar process. So NO the FAMUAN budget managers didn't over staff. As a matter of fact for the job their doing their under staffed, truth be told.

Anonymous said...

As I said "Find out if they had the money to support the contracted obligations. If they didn't, find out if they knew they didn't but went ahead and submitted the contracts anyway. And if that is the case, somebody is trippin.

That's all I'm saying. RN should consider looking in to it, and checking the facts. The previous poster assumes that funds were indeed appropriatly identified. If they were than what's the problem. Is somebody's sitting on it? Did someone take it?

Furthermore the FAMUan is funded by SGA and SGA seldom gives organizations the amount of money they ask for. Everyone knows this.

Anonymous said...

Agnew has been representing the FAMU students effectively. He cast the decisive vote for Dr. James Ammons...

Ummm... I believe Cardenas did, not Agnew. Agnew was already squarely in Dr. A's corner. Cardenas wasn't until the day of the vote- after Dr. A spoke (In an email to me from him).

Anonymous said...

(In an email to me from him).


Anonymous said...

When a vote count is 7-6, each one is decisive. Take any one of them away and you would have had Thelma Thompson.

Anonymous said...

We expect for a sga president not to be a fool. Agnew would have been an absolute fool to support any candidate other than the candidate supported by the Student Senate, the Alumni, and the Faculty.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, BOT members had made up their mind long before Thompson or Ammmons set one pinkie on the campus. Who doesn't know this?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Exactly. There's more to this story than what's reported!!!! Way more.

Soooooo... What's not being reported?

Anonymous said...

Right, and Castell hasn't returned one phone call to local and state media on this issue other than to say that we're investigating.

Anonymous said...

When CVB leaves the university, everything will come out in the wash. Do not be fooled into believing that what we read in the newspapers are all that is known. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.