Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tensions rise over Mangum’s treatment of FAMU faculty

Back in 2014, several of the semi-finalists for the FAMU presidency had records that showed they had very little respect for college faculty. Elmira Mangum was not one of them and that helped her get the job.

But now, a growing number of the FAMU faculty members who gave their support to the vote to appoint Mangum that year are expressing disappointment about the way she is treating FAMU professors.

Faculty Senate President and Board of Trustees member Bettye A. Grable gave Mangum a “Does Not Meet Expectations” rating for eight of the ten questions in her presidential evaluation. Some of her biggest criticisms were about a lack of shared governance by the administration.

Grable wrote: “Although the establishment of the FAMU Sustainability Institute is laudable, the concern regarding this accomplishment is that the protocol expressed in the FAMU Constitution and By-Laws was not followed. Does the president plan not to follow agreed upon procedures in the creation of such entities?”

The FAMU Constitution and By-Laws calls for the Faculty Senate to approve new Institutes at the university before they are created.

Grable also said that “the decision to move the [FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s] budget control to FSU was based on a unilateral approval without the prior approval by the Board of Trustees and other constituents.”

The Mangum administration has said that the switch that gave the engineering budget to FSU and sent the line for the deanship to FAMU needed to happen because it would help FAMU. But despite that claim, the FAMU administration agreed to let a professor with tenure at FSU become the interim dean of the COE. FAMU has a number of tenured professors who were qualified for the job. Mangum still hasn’t explained why a professor with tenure at FAMU wasn’t chosen for the interim deanship.

Some trustees are now questioning whether the decision-making process that Mangum used when she appointed Marcella David as the new vice-president for academic affairs showed respect to the FAMU faculty who report to that position.

“I looked at the search process, and I’ll leave it alone, but the search process for the provost, there were other people who had actually been provost, not professors at law schools,” Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery said at a June 9 committee meeting. “I still don’t know to this day how being an associate professor in a law school in Iowa qualifies you to be the Chief Academic Officer at Florida A&M University. I just don’t get that.”  

Grable added that Mangum has not done enough to try and communicate with the faculty. She said that Mangum “has attended 2 or 3 meetings of the Faculty Senate during the past year out of the nine (9) Faculty Senate Meetings that were held and has not set up the constitutionally accepted two (2) meetings per year with the full faculty.”

FAMU United Faculty of Florida Chapter President Elizabeth Davenport told the Tallahassee Democrat last month that Mangum has been disrespectful to professors at the university.

“I was 150 percent in agreement of the board of trustees hiring Dr. Mangum,” Davenport told the newspaper. “But in the last year, she has demonstrated a disrespect for faculty and faculty concerns.”

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, “Davenport said she supported [a June 10] motion by trustee Kelvin Lawson to reprimand Mangum because she feels Mangum has disassociated herself from the faculty.”

Lawson has said that he might make another motion to reprimand Mangum when the Board of Trustees meets next week.  

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