Tuesday, September 06, 2016

2007: Maxwell fails to fact check Castell's inaccurate information about student scholars

The inaccurate information that former FAMU Interim President Castell Bryant spread about a cohort of National Achievement Scholars and Semifinalists that came to the university in 1997 just won’t go away. It’s now become a topic of discussion in the unofficial “FAMU Alumni” page on Facebook.

“I think Dr. [Frederick S. Humphries] is probably one of the most effective recruiters I have ever known. And the fact that he was able to recruit all those black national merit scholars to FAMU is actually phenomenal,” Castell said in a 2007 interview with the St. Petersburg Times columnist Bill Maxwell. “During some semesters, he recruited more black merit scholars than Harvard. The sad part is that most of the students did not graduate from FAMU. In fact, at one point, only 12 out of a cohort of 84 National Merit Scholars graduated.”

Castell’s claim about the students in the cohort of National Achievement Scholars and Semifinalists that enrolled in Fall 1997 was false because most of them did graduate. A total of 59 percent of them graduated by five years (2002) and 68 percent of them graduated by six years (2003). That was much higher than the national six-year graduation rate for 2007, which was 53 percent.

The “only 12” number Castell used was based on how many students in that cohort graduated during the 2001-2002 school year. She didn’t mention the students who graduated before or after that year.

Maxwell failed to fact check that information from Castell.

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