Thursday, August 13, 2015

“Mangum Building” adds to growing list of controversial home improvements for college presidents across nation

Some members of Rattler Country have unofficially named the newest addition to the grounds of the FAMU President’s House the “Mangum Building.” It is a detached garage made of red bricks. The facility has a set of double doors with paint and roof shingles that match the color of the home that it stands beside.

FAMU President Elmira Mangum seemed to take pride in showing the detached garage to her employees during the 2015 Faculty and Staff Barbecue. She even posed for pictures in front of it with some of her guests.

But some FAMU trustees are concerned about the process that led to the construction of that new auxiliary building. Trustee Robert Woody said the project cost about $77,000 and that Mangum did not ask the Board of Trustees to approve it. Chairman Rufus Montgomery also questioned the appropriateness of the project “given the budgetary challenges faced by the institution.”

Mangum moved into the on-campus President’s House back in 2014 after the university made extensive renovations to the two-story home.

FAMU isn’t alone in having a controversial home improvement made to the university-owned residence of the president. The amount of money that is being spent on college presidents’ homes has raised questions in a number of states.

University of Akron (2015): $951,000

WKSU News: “The reference was lost on no one. A $550 antique olive jar is part of the $951,000 renovation of the university home for President Scott Scarborough. It’s become a flash point for many – a representation of lavish spending at a time when the university is cutting more than jobs and facing an estimated $40 million to $60 million deficit.”

California University of Pennsylvania (2015): $800,000

TribLive News: “Just four months after announcing the elimination of 30 positions because of declining enrollment, California University of Pennsylvania officials revealed the school's newly renovated presidential residence — labeled by some on campus as 'The Palace.' The price for work in the home of interim Cal U President Geraldine Jones was more than $800,000, exclusive of labor and architectural services provided by university staff, according to school records.”

California State University Fullerton (2012): $300,000

CBS Los Angeles: “Not only will incoming Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia get a 10 percent raise, by the time she arrives on campus, the school will spend $300,000 to renovate the eight-bedroom historical home where she will live. After nearly $750 million in budget cuts over the 2011-12 year, the Cal State University system is planning to cut enrollment for the 2013-14 year by up to 25,000 students.”

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