Negative Spotlight Over Florida A&M

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There is increasing concern about the future of Florida’s largest historically black university. The concern is from alumni.

As the law school dean is forced out and the state confirms an investigation for possible misuse of tax dollars, students strongly support their school, but others worry FAMU’s troubles are just beginning.

Florida A&M University is renowned for its business school, its pharmacy research and even its marching band, but all the recent headlines have been about the university’s widening financial crisis.

The latest scandal involves the dean of the law school being placed on leave after a payroll audit turned up a professor who apparently never taught.

Gov. Jeb Bush is wondering what’s going on.

"Heck yeah, I got concerns," said Bush. "This arrangement stinks."

The governor says he supports the tough measures taken by interim president Castell Bryant to turn the university around, and so do students we spoke with.

Dozens of people have resigned or been fired since she took office, but junior Willie McKinnon thinks FAMU will soon be back on track.

"If they get the right people in the different places that they need them and get the people out that don’t need to be here, it’ll be all right," said McKinnon.

The bigger issue may be how FAMU’s financial woes impact the university’s reputation long-term. It's taken FAMU years to build up its enrollment and attract top faculty, and alumni don’t want to see the school backslide.

FAMU grad Al Lawson says all the instability doesn’t help.

"You’re going to lose competent faculty, where they want to go into a more stable environment, and you might lose students, which you have to build," said Sen. Lawson.

So far FAMU has refused the state’s offers of assistance. FAMU’s acting president will discuss the university’s latest financial concerns at the next Board of Trustees meeting on June 30.