Fla. A&M agrees to pay for yearbook corrections

The saga of the 2000-01 Florida A&M University yearbook, still yet to be distributed, may be close to a resolution.

At a Jan. 30 meeting with 2001-02 editor Tiffany Hayes, interim President Henry Lewis agreed to pay for the cost of printing correction stickers to be placed over 15 grammatical errors, Hayes said.

The administration had halted distribution of the Rattler in December because of grammatical errors, missing captions, the color of the book’s cover and the title. Some speculate that a note from 2000-01 editor Holly McGee, revealing the unexplained disappearance of $10,000 from the yearbook’s account, may have also played a role.

The president later said he would allow the yearbooks to be handed out if specific corrections were made. The university has agreed to pay an estimated $2,000 for stickers and compensate staff members for applying them to the books. With the necessary funding now in place, the lone, remaining obstacle is a lack of office space.

The Rattler‘s office was moved last April to a building that has since become a construction zone. As of Thursday, the staff was still prohibited from using it.

“We still don’t have an office and that’s really what’s holding up the whole situation,” Hayes said. “Until I can get into the office, I can’t make the corrections. So we’re kind of in a holding pattern.”

Hayes said the administration has told her it has been looking for unused office space but has not found anything. All of her suggested solutions, she said, have been turned down.

Still, the distribution delay might end sooner. Hayes warned that within a couple of weeks, she might take the matter into her own hands.

“It’s not definite, but if this continues too much longer,” she said, “then I may just have to go ahead and distribute [the yearbooks] as they are. Because that means [administrators] are not trying to work with me and I did try to work with the school.”

SPLC View: The university’s demand that stickers be applied to the yearbook before they will allow their distribution is still clearly unconstitutional and could be challenged. Understandably, though, the staff is simply looking to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. What a waste of $2,000.