Grey skies over the FAMU campus mirrored the mood of faculty and students who came to a hastily called meeting to hear firsthand about the school's probation.
"I don't want to be quoted".
The accrediting agency has said that the death of drum major Robert Champion raised concerns about student safety. Band travel irregularities also raised eyebrows. The accrediting agency questioned the competency of some university leadership. But it was a dozen falsified audits on top of other problems that triggered a year’s probation from the Southern Association of Colleges.
"I'm going to cut straight to chase here," said Interim President Dr. Larry Robinson.
Interim president Larry Robinson did say that he thought the school had made significant strides fixing what was identified.
"What we have to assume right now is that we are compliant with all those standards and we have to make a compelling argument based on everything that we have done and what we have plan to do that that's no longer a case," said Dr. Robinson.
Both Students and faculty raised concerns.
"We don't want to be here and do all this work and after a year our degrees don't mean anything," said FAMU student Kachi Ukpagi, Jr.
700 students will graduate on Friday. And the big part of a meeting was letting them know that their degrees are just as valuable on Saturday as they were a year ago.
Robert Champion's death is also being singled out as the reason a thousand less students chose to attend FAMU this fall. The probation adds new fears about losing even more students.
A full report outlining the problems will arrive in January. Accreditation is important because the school could lose federal money and students could lose federal aid if the schools accreditation is revoked.