FAU: Public relations expert and students advise FAU on how to make comeback after tough month
FAU president: We need better PR
10:59 PM, Apr 2, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Tuesday night at the FAU student union, billiard balls clattered and dominos clicked.
There was also pride in being an Owl, yet frustration over a side of the school that students say is not being widely seen.
"We were studying all day, all night. Just, that drive that a lot of students have. It's not showcased at all," said freshman Oldine Joseph, a pre-med students.
Here's what has been showcased: Protests over the proposed naming of a football stadium by a prison company, anger over a professor's lesson that involved stomping on the name Jesus and accusations that anti-semitism is harbored by administrators.
"We need much better public relations," said Mary Jane Saunders, during an interview with NewsChannel5 today.
The owner of a Delray Beach PR firm says a perception developed that leadership was doing too much behind closed doors.
Elizabeth Kelley Grace of The Buzz Agency, says they've got to be up front, first.
"Even if there was a very small chance there was an issue, they should have anticipated this and come out with their messaging ahead of time," she says.
President Mary Jane Saunders once walked away from our cameras when we tried to ask about accusations over anti-semitism - choosing to let the school's media relations office do the talking.
When it comes to professors and questionable lessons, Grace says administrators should quickly explain their side, and not lose control to the point where the governor chose to step in - as he did in a letter last week.
"They need to be responsive. They need to be getting statements out and communicating that their number one audience is the students," said Grace.
When people hear FAU, what does it stand for? Owl, or Owl-catraz - the name protestors gave the stadium naming controversy.
"I don't want to be like I came from the school when all of the controversy was going on," said Roshana Adams, a student of health administration. "I want to say, oh, I graduated from FAU, it's a great school."
NewsChannel 5 asked the school's media relations office for comment - though they did not immediately respond.
President Mary Jane Saunders says she will be doing more to get positive stories out about FAU.