Tuesday, August 01, 2017

FAMU, TSU targeted by state officials to have low alumni representation on their boards

Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Texas Southern University (TSU) share some things in common. They are both big 9,000+ student public historically black universities in two of the largest states in the country. And they have both been targeted by state officials to have low alumni representation on their policy-setting boards.

The TSU Board of Regents has nine voting members who are appointed by the governor. Only two of its members are alumni of the university. They are Marilyn A. Rose and Sarah D. Monty-Arnoni.

The University of Texas System has a Board of Regents that supervises 14 schools. Alumni of the University of Texas at Austin hold seven of the nine appointed seats. Those regents are David J. Beck, Kevin P. Eltife, R. Steven Hicks, Jeffery D. Hildebrand, Janiece Longoria, Sara Martinez Tucker, and James C. Weaver.

Prairie View A&M University, the second largest public historically black public in Texas, is part of the Texas A&M University System and is under a Board of Regents that supervises ten other schools.

There are no Prairie View A&M alumni on that board. Eight of the nine appointed seats on that Board of Regents are held by alumni of Texas A&M University (Elaine Mendoza, Phil Adams, Robert L. Albritton, Anthony G. Buzbee, Morris E. Foster, Tim Leach, Bill Mahomes, and Cliff Thomas).

FAMU, like TSU, only has two alumni in the appointed seats on its board.

FAMU went from having six of the 11 appointed seats on its Board of Trustees (BOT) filled by alumni in 2015 to now only two (or about 18 percent). At both the University of Florida and Florida State University, alumni hold the majority of the 11 appointed seats.

For state university BOTs in Florida, the governor appoints six members and the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) appoints five. The Student Government Association (SGA) president and Faculty Senate president serve as ex-officio members.

If the FAMU SGA president and Faculty Senate president, who are alumni, are included in the total count of FAMU trustees then the total number of alumni BOT members is still only four of 13. That’s about 30 percent.

The FAMU National Alumni Association has spoken out publicly about the problem. But so far Gov. Rick Scott and the BOG haven’t announced any intention to correct it.

No candidate in Florida gubernatorial race at this time has publicly promised to work to restore the alumni majority on the FAMU BOT, if elected.

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