‘This must be resolved’: In emergency meeting, FAMU trustees address compliance, housing issues

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 12:57 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida A&M University Board of Trustees is pledging to hold the university president and his leadership team accountable as they address twin crises in student athlete compliance and housing.

At an emergency trustees meeting Friday morning, FAMU President Larry Robinson again outlined plans to deal with concerns raised by players on the football team, after 20 were deemed academically ineligible to play in the school’s opening weekend game at UNC.

“I’m committed to the success of our students, committed to compliance and accountability,” Robinson told trustees. “The incidents of the last few days indicate we have some work to do,” Robinson said.

He laid out plans first detailed Tuesday evening after Robinson met with the football team to discuss their concerns.

Those plans included adding five staff members to focus on athlete compliance and hiring another two staffers for academic advising within the athletic department.

Robinson also said the university would work to provide more financial aid during summer semester, another issue raised by football students.

President Robinson addressed the university’s recent housing issues as well, in which students were relocated to hotels from two campus dorms. He told trustees the pest and flooding problems that prompted the relocations were being resolved and students were returning to the dorms Friday. Robinson also pledged additional steps to have pest inspections at dorms on a regular basis.

“The incidents of the last few days indicate we have some work to do,” Robinson said of the university’s

Following Robinson’s brief outline of his plans and promise to address the issues, board chair Kelvin Lawson and several fellow trustees pledged to hold the university’s leadership accountable moving forward.

“We want students and parents to know we hear them and we are taking appropriate action,” Lawson said.

Lawson directed the university’s Vice President of Audit to conduct a comprehensive review of the issues, and said that review would be presented to the board of trustees along with the Florida Board of Governors. Chair Lawson also said he will be meeting with President Robinson every week to review action steps surrounding the plans.

Trustee Otis Cliatt backed Lawson’s strong calls for accountability.

“We will hold you accountable to make sure that plan is implemented on a long term basis because we need sustainability here,” Cliatt said.

“The alumni base as well as trustees are really getting tired of hearing the cleanup work that’s taking place at the university,” Cliatt told Robinson. “This must be resolved in the long term,” he said.

Trustee Michael Dubose called for an audit of all FAMU athletic programs in light of the issues with the football team and wondered how FAMU leadership was not aware of the brewing crisis.

“We had to know there were some issues going on,” Dubose said. “All the sudden this thing blows up and we didn’t see smoke before the fire was started?”

The meeting comes as FAMU football is set to compete in a pivotal game in Miami, against SWAC East rival Jackson State in the Orange Blossom Classic.