Firings of 8 FAMU profs reversed - for now
The business professors, given 30-day notices in May, now are told to sit tight while officials review the action.
By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published July 1, 2006
Eight recently terminated Florida A&M University business school professors will keep their jobs, for now.
A FAMU attorney told the eight nontenured professors Friday that they will remain on the university's payroll until officials review the manner in which they were let go.
"We certainly want to be fair and equitable to all involved," said FAMU spokeswoman LaNedra Carroll. "It's the president's intent to review this as quickly as possible. They will be on the payroll until further notice."
The reversal came a few hours after the professors, some of them longtime members of the nationally acclaimed business school, filed a grievance alleging that FAMU denied them their collective bargaining rights.
The professors say they should have been given more notice before FAMU officials sent termination letters demanding they turn in their keys and pack up their things.
The collective bargaining agreement states that some are entitled to a year's notice or the equivalent of a year's pay - not the 30 days' notice and offer of six months' compensation that FAMU administrators gave, said faculty representative Mary Diallo, a trustee.
Associate business school professor Booker T. Daniels said a FAMU attorney called him Friday afternoon to tell him about his reinstatement.
Asked if he is relieved to remain on the FAMU faculty, Daniels replied, "I think uncertain is a better description of how I feel."
"They told us we can expect to receive a letter explaining our new situation," Daniels said.
"Supposedly they called today because they wanted us to be a little more relaxed going into the holiday weekend. But it's a little late for that."
Provost Debra Austin sent the professors termination letters May 31, notifying them their employment with the university would end June 30.
Trustee Regina Benjamin told Austin she could have been more tactful in the way she fired the eight: "This letter is just not nice."
Austin said the professors do not meet the academic qualifications required for international accreditation, which the business school is seeking.
Meanwhile, the entire university is seeking reaccreditation in 2008, and is evaluating everything from academics to finances to ensure that FAMU passes muster.
Austin told trustees that more than three dozen other FAMU faculty members don't have the credentials required for reaccreditation. They will have until the end of the year to boost their academic qualifications.
FAMU has been without a permanent president for 18 months, and a search firm selected this week has until August 2007 to find a new president.
Castell Bryant, a FAMU alumnus, is acting as interim president until then.
Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.