Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magnum-Thrasher have become quite a team

FAMU President Elmira Mangum helped FSU President John Thrasher put an end to the 28 years of FAMU budget control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) in 2015. Despite having favorable legislative language and favorable BOG study.

Last year, with Mangum's approval, the legislature moved the $12.9M for the COE from the FAMU  line to a new budget entity called “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.”  

Following the transfer, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council was created calling the shots on the operating budget. This has made it possible for the FSU representatives and Board of Governors (BOG) Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to out vote FAMU on nearly all budget decisions since its creation.

At a July 21, 2015 BOT committee meeting, Mangum tried to downplay the seriousness of the loss of the $12.9M COE budget by claiming that FAMU didn’t have control over that money during the years that those operating dollars were at the university. But Kelvin Lawson disagreed because he actually understands what happened. He said that FAMU had the “responsibility for managing the budget” in the past. He added that the management responsibility wasn’t limited to executing “joint decisions.”

“I think it’s also important to have the perspective to have that there’s a lot more involved in the responsibility of the fiscal agent other than just managing the money and making joint decisions, because if it wasn’t so important, why would year after year after year, various leaders make an attempt to move the responsibility from its original home?” Kelvin Lawson said.

“I would like to see us make an active pitch to regain budget authority for the College of Engineering,” Lawson said at the meeting.

“I would ask that the administration take that as a ‘To Do’ moving forward,” he added.

Mangum hasn’t reported any progress in addressing the COE budget shift problem since that time.

Kelvin Lawson isn’t letting the issue go. He raised the COE budget shift in Mangum’s 2015-2016 evaluation.

“The decision on the Joint Engineering School was a major decision that had no Board engagement; this discussion will have fall-out for years to come,” he wrote.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Clark on nonrenewal of Mangum’s contract: Let’s continue to place FAMU students first

Lt. Col Gregory L. Clark, president of the FAMU National Alumni Association, released the following statement following the 7-5 FAMU Board of Trustees vote against a motion to renew the employment agreement of President Elmira Mangum:

On August 24, the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees voted not to renew the contract of the university’s 11th president, Dr. Elmira Mangum. The FAMU National Alumni Association (FAMU NAA) is keenly aware that a shift of this magnitude in leadership profoundly impacts the university’s efforts to move FAMU forward. Therefore, as the FAMU NAA President, I am urging our alumni to remain committed and focused on the core element of our mission - our students.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Vasilinda needs more context for his coverage of FAMU’s enrollment decline

Mike Vasilinda of the Capitol News Service does lots of good reporting of FAMU. That’s why Rattler Nation regularly posts his video news stories here. On Wednesday, this blog posted his wrap-up of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting.

But Vasilinda needs to follow-up his Thursday story on FAMU’s enrollment decline with another one that has the important context that wasn’t included in the first. He also has some mistakes to correct.

Vasilinda wrote that “this fall marks the fifth anniversary of the hazing death of Florida A&M University Drum Major Robert Champion. The University settled the case for $1.1 million and an apology.”

FAMU actually settled with the Champion family for $300,000. That money was paid by the Florida Department of Financial Services. The Champion family settled with the insurer of the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, where hazing ritual took place, for $800,000.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mangum on her presidency: “The job’s over.”

Yesterday, the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted 7-5 against a motion to extend President Elmira Mangum’s contract for one year with a requirement for executive leadership coaching.

Trustee Harold Mills proposed the motion and “Interim” Student Government Association President Jaylen Smith seconded it.

The five “yes” votes came from:  Mills, Smith, David Lawrence, Craig Reed, and Nicole Washington.

The seven “no” votes came from: Faculty Senate President Bettye Grable, Matt Carter, Thomas Dortch, Chairman Kelvin Lawson, Vice-Chairwoman Kimberly Moore, Robert Woody, and Belvin Perry Jr.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reporter asks FAMU president if BOT showed her the door, Mangum says it looks that way

FAMU BOT didn’t approve $19.5M in tuition and fee losses as an enrollment strategy

Yesterday, FAMU President Elmira Mangum defended her administration’s recruitment and enrollment management practices in a guest column for HBCU Digest. She claimed that the continuing enrollment decline is a “byproduct of success.”

“Unlike other universities with declining enrollment, FAMU does not have a problem with student recruitment,” Mangum wrote. “Instead, our decline is the byproduct of success in graduating students and in the University’s policy change to recruit more college-ready students.”

An increase in the number of students who are graduating doesn't mean that an enrollment decline has to happen. A university can recruit more students to replace the ones who are graduating. An effort to recruit a bigger number of college-ready students doesn't mean that enrollment has to decline, either. A university can recruit college-ready students and grow its enrollment at the same time.

Gamble, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, received FAMU purchasing card

Dee Gamble, center, with President Elmira Mangum
A Tallahassee Democrat report on the spending records of FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s administration shows that a staffer who had pleaded guilty to a criminal financial-related charge before he was hired received a university purchasing card. That individual is Santoras “Dee” Gamble, who currently works as an assistant to Mangum. 

As part of his probation, the U.S. Government ordered Gamble to terminate or destroy all of his current credit cards, not to obtain any new credit, and undergo credit counseling.

The Democrat article stated that for “May 2016 through July 2016: His total shows $6,700 during the three-month period. Most of the listings are for hotels, electronics, taxi services.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grable takes Mangum to task for having insufficient data to support assessment claims

For the second consecutive year, FAMU Faculty Senate President Bettye A. Grable said President Elmira Mangum “Does Not Meet” expectations in eight categories of her annual evaluation. Last year, the evaluation had a total of ten categories. There were eleven categories for the 2015-2016 year.

Grable said Mangum met expectations for Financial Management and Personal Characteristics and Values. She gave Mangum an “Exceeds” expectations rating for the Work Plan category.

But in the rest of the eight categories, Grable gave Mangum the lowest possible mark. Those areas were Annual Priorities and Goals, Strategic Leadership, Educational Leadership, Organizational Management, Fundraising, External Relations, Internal Relations, and Board of Governance Relations.

In most of those categories, Grable faulted Mangum for providing little or no comparative data to support the high ratings that she gave herself on her 2015-2016 presidential self-assessment.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Carter not accepting excuses for FAMU’s continuing enrollment decline

FAMU’s enrollment in Fall 2015 dropped to 9,920 (down from 10,233 in Fall 2014) under President Elmira Mangum. The university expects to lose another 920 students in 2016-2017.

In her self-evaluation for 2015-2016, Mangum suggested that the enrollment decline was needed in order to make sure FAMU has students who can help it do well on the performance metrics of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG).

“Moving to a culture focused on student success and college readiness rather than the size of enrollment was an important change and undertaking that reinforces and demonstrates recognition of state and national trends for accountability,” Mangum wrote. “Significant progress was made as evidenced by our improvement scores on the [State University System of Florida] established performance metrics and movement into the top eight of the performance funding ranking.”

But FAMU Trustee Matt Carter, who helped set up the BOG’s performance metrics system while he was a member of that board, isn’t accepting excuses for the continuing enrollment decline.