Friday, October 06, 2017

Tallahassee gubernatorial candidates not shy about FAMU photo-ops, but quiet about small number of alumni on FAMU BOT

Adam Putnam at 2016 Spring FAMU Commencement
Three of the candidates in Florida gubernatorial race are based in Tallahassee. None of them have been shy about coming to Florida A&M University events for photo-ops and speaking about how great FAMU alumni are. But they have all been silent about the small number of alumni on the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT).

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. 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 president and Faculty Senate president serve as ex-officio members.

The frontrunner in the governor’s race is Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. Back on May 2, 2016, he gave the keynote address for one of FAMU’s two spring commencement ceremonies. His speech referred to his one-on-one experiences with quality FAMU alumni.

“My first Rattler interactions came with teachers. You’ve produced extraordinary teachers spread throughout this country,” he said.

Putnam added that FAMU has produced fine graduates for many years who are committed to serving the community.

“But without question, life in this world, in this nation, in this state, even right here on the highest of the seven hills, is brighter, better, and more accessible because previous generations of Rattlers made these values and civic engagement their life's work,” he said.
Gwen Graham at 2014 FAMU Homecoming Parade
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, whose district included FAMU during her two years in Congress, and current Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum have made regular visits to the FAMU campus. They came to FAMU for a number of Hillary Clinton campaign events in 2016 and often participate in the FAMU Homecoming Parade.

The FAMU National Alumni Association has spoken out publicly about the low number of alumni on the BOT. But so far Gov. Rick Scott and the BOG haven’t announced any intention to correct it.
Andrew Gillum at 2015 FAMU Homecoming Parade
The small number of FAMU alumni that the Florida Governor’s Office and Board of Governors (BOG) have chosen to appoint to the FAMU Board of Trustees is an insult. It suggests that FAMU doesn’t have as many alumni who are up to the task of leadership as UF and FSU.

No candidate in the Florida gubernatorial race has publicly promised to work to restore the alumni majority on the FAMU BOT if elected, even though the three based in Tallahassee enjoy coming to FAMU events and saying nice things about the alumni of the school.

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