Tuesday, September 01, 2015

FAMU hurt by officials who disrespect reporters, lack basic media relations skills

The way FAMU alumna Tia Mitchell was treated at the Thursday, August 27 press conferences for the FAMU Legacy Banquet was a reminder of how much the university is being hurt by officials who lack basic media relations skills.

Mitchell, a Florida Times-Union reporter and graduate of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, went to Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in order to participate in the media availability that morning. The press conference was held at that location because the Legacy Banquet was an event that was jointly planned by Bethel Empowerment Foundation that is based in that church and the FAMU Foundation. The purpose of the banquet was to honor all the living FAMU presidents and raise money for the FAMU athletic department. Attendees at the press conference included FAMU President Elmira Mangum, Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Rufus Montgomery, and former Trustee R.B. Holmes (the pastor of the church).

According to a statement that Mitchell posted on her Twitter page, a public relations official intervened when she tried to ask questions and told her it wasn’t the right press conference for that.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Packer’s “Straight Outta Compton” tops box office for third consecutive week

“Straight Outta Compton,” which is executive produced by FAMU alumnus Will Packer, ruled the box office for the third consecutive week.

The movie opened at $56.1 million during its first week and took in another $13.2 million this week for a domestic total of $134 million.

Last year, two films that Packer produced opened at No. 1 (No Good Deed and Think Like a Man Too.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

PBS American Masters series to showcase story of FAMU alumna Althea Gibson

People often cite Arthur Ashe as the first African American to win Wimbledon (1975).  He was indeed the first African American male to win the men's singles title, but it was, in fact, Althea Gibson, who was the first African American to cross the color line playing and winning at Wimbledon (1957 and 1958) and at the U.S. Nationals (1957 and 1958 – precursor of the U.S. Open).

This fall, THIRTEEN's American Masters presents Althea, premiering nationwide Friday, September 4, 2015 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) during the U.S. Open.  The 90-minute documentary reveals the highs and lows of this remarkable athlete whose life and achievements transcend sports and have entered the annals of African American history. From her roots as a sharecropper's daughter in the cotton fields of South Carolina, to her emergence as the unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s, her story is a complex tale of race, class and gender.

Friday, August 28, 2015

BOG not signaling any interest in saving Mangum presidency

Back in June, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) said that it would review the claims from a group of FAMU alumni in the legislature who said that FAMU Board of Trustee Chairman Rufus Montgomery’s treatment of President Elmira Mangum has been “bordering dangerously close to bullying.” But the BOG still isn’t signaling any interest in saving the Mangum presidency.

The tension between Rufus and Mangum has increased in the weeks after the lawmakers took their concerns to the BOG.  The latest clash took place on August 17 when Mangum accused Rufus of violating her “employee rights according to University Regulation 10.103(3b) -Nondiscrimination Policy and Harassment Procedures.” She later told the Florida Times-Union that she thought Rufus was working toward the goal of firing her.

But BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser and BOG member Matthew Carter both downplayed the seriousness of the problems that Rufus and Mangum have with each other in statements to the media this week. Criser brushed off the issue by saying that it was “noise around the edges.” Carter told a reporter that “I don’t think the relationship is broken.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Separate FSU budget for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering grows to $7M

The separate budget that Florida State University has for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) is continuing to grow. A WCTC-6 story on the COE from yesterday reported that “the budget is $12.9 million, plus $7 million from FSU that will be going to the joint college.”

That is up from last year. A Tallahassee Democrat article from 2014 reported that “the FSU budget is $5 million ‘and has been growing,’ [Dean Yaw Yeboah] said.” That money paid for 36 FSU professors in 2014. The separate FSU engineering budget was also referenced in the study that CBT University Consulting presented to the Florida Board of Governors earlier this year. The study said that there was “roughly $6 million within FSU that supports Joint College faculty and research.”

FSU receives money for its separate engineering budget in its general revenue from the Florida Legislature.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WFSU: Mangum administration hired man convicted of federal felony to $75,000 job

An investigative report published by WFSU, the PBS/NPR for North Florida and Southern Georgia, states that FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s administration hired an individual who was convicted of a federal felony to a job that pays him $75,000 per year.

According to WFSU: “Earlier this year Mangum hired Santoras D. Gamble in FAMU’s office of Communications. What raised eyebrows among FAMU faculty, staff and administrators, is Gamble’s background. He’s paid $75,000 a year. Gamble was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony. He was ordered to pay more than $122,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Education and Auburn University, where the crime took place. He also shows up the U.S. Department of Education’s annual fraud report to congress in 2012.”