Saturday, February 13, 2016

FAMU softball opens season with 9-7 win over Southern Miss

Junior Jessica Nathan at the FAMU v. Southern Miss matchup
Junior Jessica Nathan belted a three-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to power the FAMU Women’s Softball team to a 9-7 season-opening win over Southern Mississippi on opening day of the 2016 Sand Dollar Softball Classic Friday afternoon.

Friday’s win was the first season-opening win for FAMU (1-0) since February 11, 2011, when the Rattler Women blanked Savannah State, 9-0.

Friday, February 12, 2016

FAMU to receive outside review report on President’s House garage, bonuses on Feb. 16

On Tuesday of next week, Florida A&M University will receive a report from the firm hired to conduct an independent review of controversial capital improvements at the on-campus President’s House and bonuses that were awarded to members of President Elmira Mangum’s staff. 

FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens told university trustees on Wednesday that Grant Thornton LLP was selected for the job and will submit its written conclusions on Feb. 16.

The FAMU internal auditor normally carries out such investigations. But the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to have an outside company do the review after Givens reported “potential interference with the work of Audit & Compliance” in an Oct. 21 email to then-Chairman Rufus Montgomery.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gamble hiring leads to more FAMU trustee questions about non-advertised positions

On Wednesday, FAMU trustees raised more questions about jobs that are filled without advertisement after receiving an update on the review of the hiring process that led to Santoras “Dee” Gamble’s employment.

Gamble pleaded guilty to the felony charge of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in 2010 and received three years of probation. He was also required to pay a restitution amount of more than $122,000. Last year, FAMU Vice-President for Communications and External Relations Jimmy Miller hired Gamble to a $75,000 “special assistant” job.

The inspector general of the Florida Board of Governors asked the university in a September 9 email: “Has there been any review of this matter to confirm that FAMU followed the background and hiring process in hiring Gamble? If so, what was the result?”

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Better late than never; Mangum’s staff completes Trustee Directory updates

On Monday, the administration of President Elmira Mangum finally finished updating the Board of Trustees (BOT) directory on

The Florida Board of Governors made 20 appointments to public university boards on January 21, including the selection of Thomas Dortch Jr. and Craig Reed for the FAMU BOT. At the University of Florida, the BOT webpage was updated promptly to include its new trustee. But the Trustee Directory was incomplete for weeks.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Decline in FAMU advocacy among numerous questionable decisions by Florida Black Caucus

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) was once one of the most consistent sources of advocacy that Florida A&M University had. But over the past year, the group has simply ignored a number of attacks against the university.

In 2015, FAMU lost control of a multi-million dollar college budget after 28 years and saw its alumni become a minority in the 11 appointed university Board of Trustees seats. But the FLBC still doesn’t seem to see a problem and has kept quiet.

That FLBC’s decline in commitment to defending FAMU comes at a time when news reports are raising serious questions about its operations, especially when it comes to its relationship with the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators (a nonprofit foundation).

Monday, February 08, 2016

Arthenia Joyner failing to defend FAMU in Florida Senate with boldness Carrie Meek had

When Carrie Meek was the most prominent FAMU graduate in the Florida Senate, she provided the leadership necessary to ensure that FAMU gained and kept control of the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

But after all the hard work Meek did to keep the budget at FAMU, current Senate Democratic Leader and FAMU alumna Arthenia Joyner failed to battle against it being taken away from the university in 2015.

Back in 1987, FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries struck a deal with FSU President Bernie Sliger for FAMU to receive control of the COE budget in exchange for him agreeing to support Innovation Park as the building site for the COE.

Meek used her seat in the Florida Senate to help move the annual appropriation for the COE into the FAMU general revenue line in 1987. She also made sure that it stayed there up until she left the state Senate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Warren’s silence on Mangum’s slights toward state GOP officials sends message

Florida A&M University receives its annual appropriations from a legislature that has a Republican majority. The relationship between the FAMU president’s office and the state GOP leadership went downhill during Elmira Mangum’s first year at the university and is continuing its steady decline. But current FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Cleve Warren has shown no signs of caring.

Back when the BOT voted to hire Mangum in 2014, Rattler Nation wrote about how FAMU presidents have faced tough challenges ever since the Republicans gained control of the legislature and governorship in the 1990s.