A new problem for FAMU: Ants!
In successfully rallying this week to keep financial control of the FAMU-FSU engineering school in FAMU's hands, several FAMU supporters used a variation on this line: Yeah, FAMU's got problems, but not at the engineering school. FAMU Student Body President Phillip Agnew told The FAMUAN : "Even throughout the audits and the supposed bad audits that we've had, there's never been any evidence that we've mismanaged funds as it pertains to the engineering school." And state Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, told The Gradebook: "There's no evidence the engineering school has had any fiscal problems at FAMU." Agnew and Lawson played key roles in lobbying the Legislature to not give financial control to FSU.
But if any lawmakers were swayed by those arguments, they must have cringed this morning. A day after they voted to let FAMU off the hook, FSU Provost Larry Abele chronicled a jaw-dropping list of problems at the engineering school in a guest column in the Tallahassee Democrat. Students are conducting virtual experiments because they don't have materials. Vendors are not accepting purchase orders because of payment problems. Professors are writing personal checks when their student assistants don't get paid. And oh, there's an "onslaught of ants" - because pesticide services have been discontinued. "This is totally unacceptable," Abele writes, "and rather than worry about who pays the bills maybe we should worry about the success of the students and support of the faculty."
On a related topic, Lawson told the St. Petersburg Times that FSU was moving behind the scenes to split the school into FSU and FAMU components. He said FSU President T.K. Wetherell had even prepared paperwork to get the ball rolling. Is this what he was talking about?