FAMU Interim President Castell Bryant Defends University

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"It is not about Castell Vaughn Bryant, it is not about the administrative team not caring and being insensitive to people who are involved with this university," said interim president Castell Bryant, who spoke candidly during a highly anticipated meeting of FAMU's Board of Trustees Thursday.

In attendance were fellow Rattlers wanting answers about the recently released draft audit, the suspension of the school's inspector general, dean vacancies and the search for a permanent president.

"We have hired a search firm to move us toward filling the president position. As far as our timeline, we are going to try to get this done on or before August 2007," said FAMU Trustee R.B. Holmes.

Also out of the meeting was word that some 40 faculty members on campus will be receiving certified letters in the mail stating that they may not be in compliance with SACS accreditation standards. Each of these faculty members, who names were not released, will have a sit-down meeting with their respective dean and will be giving until December of this year to get their paperwork in order.

"We have an opportunity here for these individuals to clearly demonstrate they meet the credentials as far as SACS is concerned," said Debra Austin, FAMU's VP for Academic Affairs.

"It may be an understatement to say that some of what we have been doing is controversial. There is certainly resistance from the stakeholders, involving people in this room and sitting at this table," added Bryant.

During the meeting, the board approved a $400 million operating budget and voted not to raise tuition, other than the three percent increase of in-state undergraduate tuition mandated by the Florida Legislature.