Saturday, August 20, 2016

Clarks says Office of Alumni Affairs cuts still hurting NAA’s work to help FAMU

Back at the June 9 meeting of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT), National Alumni Association (NAA) President Lt. Col. Gregory Clark presented the university with a check in the amount of $674,719 on behalf of the organization. The NAA raised the money between February and May 2016.

But Clark says that recent cuts to the FAMU Office of Alumni Affairs (OAA) are still hurting the NAA’s work to help FAMU.

The BOT invited Clark to submit comments on President Elmira Mangum’s job performance as part of its annual evaluation process for her. He mentioned the negative effect that the elimination of two OAA positions has had on the NAA.

“The Office of Alumni Affairs has been downsized thereby making it one of the smallest among the four-year [State University System of Florida] Schools,” Clark wrote. “With the elimination of the Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs and Membership Coordinator positions, this action has directly impacted the NAA. The operational support provided by the Office of Alumni Affairs to the NAA is important to the overall effectiveness of the organization.” 

In May 2015, Mangum replaced Carmen Cummings-Martin with John Michael Lee as the “New Head of Alumni Affairs.” Cummings-Martin had previously led OAA since 2007.

The Mangum administration later began making even more dramatic changes to OAA that then NAA President Tommy Mitchell said were harmful to the NAA. The university laid off Regina Gardner, assistant director of accounting, and Brandon Hill, coordinator of alumni engagement and membership services in late 2015. Mitchell, speaking on behalf of the NAA Executive Board, told Mangum that those ousters hurt the NAA because Gardner and Hill carried out “duties that are crucial to the FAMU NAA accomplishing its mission and goals for this academic year with success.”

In June 2016, Lee began a “special assistant” job in the Office of President. Cummings-Martin is back to being the leading administrator in OAA. But the Mangum administration still hasn’t restored the OAA staff support that it cut last year.

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