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Stokes Says Students Are Top Priority In Talks To Split FAMU-FSU Engineering


The prospect of splitting the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering has stirred confusion and concern among students at both schools. Now FSU’s interim president is finally weighing in.

One fear is that if the school splits, only one half will be allowed to survive because of Florida’s laws about duplication of programs. Some students at Florida State University and Florida A&M are circulating petitions to keep the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering together. FSU Student Regina Joseph, a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, is displeased with Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine), an FSU alumn and the architect of the proposal to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering-- and rumored candidate to be the next FSU president.

“We don’t want someone like John Thrasher to be president of this school," Joseph says.

For a week now, FSU’s interim President Garnett Stokes has been largely silent on the issue, issuing only a press release stating her support for the split. But Thursday, elbow-deep in chocolate ice cream on FSU’s Landis Green, Stokes had this to say about the student petitions.

“What I would say to all our students is that, the students who are in these programs will have nothing to worry about. The focus, no matter what happens, is on ensuring the education of our students," she says.

FSU students appear split on whether to nix the partnership. FAMU students are more united in their opposition.  The plan to divide the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is in the Senate’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. If it’s approved, the schools would divide and FSU would receive $13 million to begin new engineering programs. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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