Friday, October 23, 2015

Rufus resigns as FAMU chairman, remains on Board of Trustees

Today, Rufus Montgomery stepped down as chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees. According to the Florida Times-Union, he is still keeping his seat as a member of the board.

The announcement came a day after he supported two unsuccessful attempts to terminate the contract of FAMU President Elmira Mangum during a morning conference call. FAMU Student Body President Tonnette Graham responded by holding a rally at the steps of Lee Hall that called on him to leave the chairmanship. A statement from her office asked Rufus “to step down and allow an unbiased leader to rise and lead our Board.”

Vice-President Justin Bruno then led about 100 students in a march to the Florida Capitol to take the message to Gov. Rick Scott. Scott was out-of-town, but the student officials met with members of his staff.

BOT Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson will serve as acting chairman until the full board votes on a permanent replacement for Rufus.

The now ex-chairman sent the following message to the Board of Trustees today:
Members of the Board,

I interpreted your decision to unanimously elect me as chair as a mandate to continue the quest for accountability and greatness in our shared roles as members of the University's governing body. An expected spirit of cooperation with the Board's responsible efforts to hold the President accountable has not materialized and is not likely to occur with the current Board.

Our stakeholders need to be mindful of the potential appointment of up to eight new Board members over the next three months and the impact of those appointments on the future of the University.

Successful navigation of major short and long term challenges facing FAMU require an effective working relationship between the Board chair and the university president. The current relationship is broken and irreparable.

From my years as a FAMU student through my current tenure as a member of the Board, I have consistently put FAMU first. In an effort to move the University forward, effective immediately, I hereby resign from my position as chair.

Yours for FAMU,

RM

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