Rattler administrators, staff speak to legislators at FAMU Day at the Capitol

By: Lanetra Bennett I Eyewitness News
February 8, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- FAMU cheerleaders welcomed the Rattlers for FAMU Day at the Capitol Thursday.

This was the annual chance for administrators, faculty, students, alumni and supporters to speak directly to state legislators.

Groups met individually to discuss the university's priorities and the value FAMU brings to Florida. A main focus was student success and funding.

"We have to provide some additional services to ensure that those students progress in the system and graduate in a timely fashion, and then in areas in which they can go out into the world and find gainful employment. It takes resources to do that," said FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson.

When they got to Representative Ramon Alexander's Office, he was ready to tell them what was already on his mind.

"The system is designed for FAMU to lose," said Rep. Alexander.

He says the state university system's three-tier performance metrics does not create a level playing field.

He pointed out the two preeminent universities, FSU and UF, get nearly 38 percent of the total appropriated funds. Emerging preeminent schools, USF and UCF, get 32 percent.

"Everyone else: University of North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, FAMU, all other eight schools receive 29 percent. That's cut up between all of us. That's asinine, isn't it? This is the big fight for FAMU," Rep. Alexander said.

FAMU got additional funding two years ago for scoring a 65 on the performance metrics. The school got a 65 again last year.

"Well, this year, FAMU got zero. Everybody say, zero. Zero," Rep. Alexander said.

That's because FAU improved, leaving FAMU in the bottom three, who all get nothing.

Dr. Robinson said, "How quickly students graduate, how low debt they leave with, all of those things we want to do even better at Florida A&M University, it takes resources to do that."

When looking at the funding each school gets, Rep. Alexander said, "Look at this pie chart, this is crazy. Look at the number. Where's FAMU? You can barely see FAMU."

Lawmakers are proposing a bipartisan bill that addresses the performance funding issues.

FAMU Day at the Capitol concludes with a reception on the 22nd floor of the Capitol from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

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