Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tampa Bay Times editorial board rips Thrasher’s attack on FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board joined the Tallahassee Democrat’s in blasting state Sen. John Thrasher’s attack on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

From the editorial “Another higher ed power play”:

Florida taxpayers already are paying for one engineering school in Tallahassee, and they should not have to pay for two. A sudden plan to dismantle the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and create separate schools is a power play by an influential state senator and Florida State University alumnus to hand FSU its own engineering school. This is another example of the Legislature letting raw politics rather than sound policy rule higher education.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, an FSU alumnus and a potential candidate for the university's presidency, set aside $13 million in the Senate budget to begin the process of dismantling the engineering college and creating separate colleges for each university.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FAMU Law continues to succeed in meeting national standards for bar passage rate

The FAMU College of Law recently announced that 72.2 percent of its first-time examinees passed the February 2014 Florida Bar Exam. The Florida Bar Exam first-time cumulative pass rate for February 2014 was 72.9 percent. These accomplishments are significant, as FAMU College of Law students exhibited a strong performance on the exam despite a decline in Bar passage rates among Florida’s law schools over the last year. FAMU out-paced five of the 11 Florida law schools, including Barry University, the University of Florida and Nova Southeastern.

"We are very proud of the performance of our first-time exam takers," said LeRoy Pernell, dean of the College of Law. "Our standing among all Florida law schools speaks to the quality of the curriculum and academic support programs available here at the FAMU College of Law.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

Still no sign of $5M FAMU needs to replace FSU engineering faculty

FAMU still needs $5M to replace all of the Florida State University faculty who will leave if the Florida Legislature approves a plan to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. But state Sen. John E. Thrasher, who is leading the effort to divide the college, still hasn’t proposed one penny for those expenses.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the joint E-College’s budget of $10.9M (which FAMU controls) pays for 23 FAMU professors and 27 FSU professors. Another 36 FSU professors are paid through an FSU-only engineering recurring appropriation of $5M.

Rattler Nation previously reported that FSU controls the funds that pay for the majority of the E-College’s faculty. This was a result of the way that “Florida Has a Right to Know,” a state-run website that publishes the salaries of public personnel, lists the funding sources of the E-College faculty’s compensation. Every year, FAMU transfers the money that pays for 27 FSU faculty positions from the joint budget to FSU’s payroll. “Florida Has a Right to Know” does not differentiate those faculty members from the other 36 who are paid through the FSU-only recurring appropriation of $5M.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

FAMU student garners national boxing title, feature in Sports Illustrated

FAMU is the home of the 2014 U.S. Intercollegiate Boxing Association’s heavyweight champion.

FAMU student Willie Ferrell not only took home the championship belt earlier this month, but also defended his title as the 2013 heavyweight champion.

Ferrell’s journey to triumph in the boxing ring is depicted in the April 14 issue of Sports Illustrated, which is available now on newsstands and online.

The multi-page feature in Sports Illustrated also stories Ferrell’s extraordinary relationship with his late brother Jonathan, a former Rattler football player, whose controversial 2013 death has been attributed to alleged racial profiling.

Ferrell’s inspiring story of how his brother, even in death, encouraged him to defend his title is also told in an issue of FAMU’s A&M magazine.

“I was proud to represent my brother. I was proud that I was able to show the world what FAMU has to offer,” said Ferrell about what it felt like to be handed the championship belt once again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

FAMU parts ways with Clemon Johnson

Yesterday, FAMU Director of Athletics Kellen Winslow announced the release of men's basketball Head Coach Clemon Johnson and his staff.

“We thank Coach Johnson and his staff for their efforts over the past three years to improve our men's basketball program. However, we have decided to seek new leadership of this program in order to achieve our academic and athletic goals,” Winslow said.

FAMU hired Johnson in 2011. In three seasons at FAMU, he compiled a 32-64 record overall and a 19-29 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).

According to the Tallahassee Democrat “Johnson said the termination letter didn’t discuss how FAMU will settle the remaining year on his four-year contract. His annual salary was $150,000.”

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 new money to help FAMU build an independent program. FSU controls the money that pays for 36 members of the current college’s faculty and Thrasher hasn’t offered one cent for FAMU to conduct faculty replacement hiring for those positions.

If FAMU doesn’t receive the money to replace all of the FSU faculty members who leave during the split, then it might not 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.