Florida A&M to Cut Jobs PDF Print E-mail
By Matthew Richardson & Kristen Swilley –Black College Wire   

Florida A&M University President James Ammons announced Monday that about 200 employees will be laid off at the end of June and 22 academic programs will be cut as part of a major restructuring proposal to deal with budget cuts.

The layoff will mostly affect clerical and administrative staff; however some faculty positions will be lost, Ammons said

The Famuan
FAMU President James Ammons
"With the plan that we have developed, we are hoping that this will be at least a two-year plan so we won't have to come back here next year with this kind of discussion," Ammons told an audience of about 200 people. "But we won't know until the legislature (session) finishes."

According to administrative officials, since 2007, Florida A&M has experienced a $35 million reduction to its budget. Now, the university must address the potential 15 percent projected cut, which would result in a $13.3 million reduction for FAMU in fiscal year 2011-12. This reduction will occur in addition to the loss of $7.9 million in stimulus funding.

"If those cuts are deeper than we think, we are going to have to come back here next year and have this same conversation because the money just won't be there," Ammons said.

While many wondered if additional cuts would be made to the school's budget, Ammons said he believed that this year wouldn't be the last year for belt tightening.

As part of the restructuring, 86 filled positions will be eliminated as well as 110 employees who are now being paid with stimulus funds.

Ten academic programs could be merged and several others might be eliminated.

Ammons said that his team looked at enrollment, number of degrees granted, number of grant dollars generated by faculty in those departments.  Programs that fell into any of these categories were classified as low-productivity.

"We're not recommending that we eliminate every program that was on the Board of Governors list because we believe that some of those programs are important to our mission," Ammons said.

The audience uttered disapproval when Ammons said seven programs were on the chopping block from a single school, the College of Education.

Some of the programs from the College of Education include the bachelor's of both art and business education. Master's in both math and English education are also on the chopping block.

First-year education student Makia Edwards, 19, is concerned about her future and those of her classmates.

"I can't believe they're cutting all of those programs," Edwards said. "They are missing out on a lot of good potential students. Many people rely on FAMU as their only way to get an education."

Edwards, an Orlando resident, said that her confidence in FAMU has teetered a bit since learning what programs may be cut.

"This is a place that I would want to send my kids one day, and now I can't even be sure the programs they want will be here," Edwards said.

Knowing that FAMU's hip-hop institute was not one of the 22 endangered programs sent some in the audience into a small uproar.

However, Ammons defended the program by saying that the institute is part of the younger generation’s culture.

"I know there are some of us who don't identify with hip-hop," Ammons said. "Hip-hop is part of our culture and I think if we're going to have a university that is truly a place of education, all of those issues within our culture should be provided to our student body."

But among all of the reductions, the one that could possibly hurt the most could be the layoffs of long-time employees. As part of the forum, the university had packets available for stress relief and unemployment benefits.

Employees like George Brumao, 51, who rely on a steady paycheck to support his family, hopes that he will not have to use one of those packets.

"I'd be able to make it a little bit beyond paycheck to paycheck, but if I missed more than two, I'd be in a really tough situation," said Brumao, who has been working at Coleman Library for more than 11 years.

For the full report of the proposed restructuring plan visit Ammons' restructuring website .

Matthew Richardson and Kristen Swilley write for The Famuan, the Florida A&M University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Apr. 05, 2011
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