Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Curtain falls on Mangum-hosted Amateur Hour in Lee Hall

The cronyism of the Elmira Mangum era is coming to an end. Professionals who actually know how to run a university are now on their way back to Lee Hall.

Yesterday, FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson gave termination letters to six individuals who had worked in the central administration building under his predecessor.  The FAMUan reported that those six employees were: “Provost Marcella David, [Assistant Vice President for Communications] Elise Durham, Chief of Staff Jimmy Miller, Executive Assistant to the President Jackie Hightower and special assistants to the president Dee Gamble and John Lee.”

All six terminations were effective at the end of the business day on Monday, September 19. The student newspaper added that each individual was “placed on administrative leave with pay for 60 days.”

The Mangum administration lost most of its credibility with the Tallahassee press corps due to the lack of professionalism shown by Miller and then Durham during their stints as head of the Office of Communications. FAMU also faced negative headlines after WFSU reported in August 2015 that the office had hired Gamble to a job that paid him $75,000 per year. According to WFSU, “Gamble was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony.”

Mangum placed Lee in a useless $130,000 per year “Head of Alumni Affairs” job before moving him to the president’s office. He was one her loudest defenders on social media, but was unsuccessful in swaying real Rattlers who cared enough about the university to find out what was really going on at FAMU. 

Now that Durham is gone, FAMU will hopefully also be rid of Kyle Washington, her student engagement coordinator. Washington is a former cast member of the BET reality TV series “College Hill” who sought to make a national name for himself through cursing matches and arguments over ribs. He has been at the center of completely unnecessary, public drama related to the FAMU Student Government Association for years.

The stage of the Amateur Hour that Mangum hosted in Lee Hall has finally been cleared. It’s now time for a second act by professionals who have the experience and skills to bring a first-rate performance.

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