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FAMU updates state on accreditation issues, no timetable on Marching 100 return

The panel overseeing Florida's state universities said it is pleased with the way Florida A&M University is working to correct its issues. FAMU provided the Board of Governors an update on its action plan and the school's most pressing concern: being removed from accreditation probation.

Solomon Badger, chairman of FAMU's Board of Trustees, said the school hopes to be back on track "as soon as possible" but estimated it could take another year to 18 months to fix all of the issues. Earlier this month, he suspended the search for a new president, saying the accreditation probation and other problems should be fixed before a permanent leader is hired.

State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan said he supports Badger's decision. "Trying to find a world-class president when the issue of re-accreditation hangs literally in the balance is a very difficult thing to do," Brogan said.

FAMU will submit a written report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools by late August, interim President Larry Robinson said. A SACS committee will visit the campus a month later. The accrediting organization will decide in December whether or not to remove FAMU from probation, extend the probation or implement more serious sanctions.

During a break between meetings, Robinson also talked about the return of the Marching 100 band, suspended since the November 2011 death of drum major Robert Champion. The school tried to hire a new band director in January, but talks broke down the day of the planned announcement.

Robinson said the search has resumed and candidates are being vetted. A final decision about the status of the band will be made by the end of the semester, or mid-May, he said.