Wednesday, November 08, 2017

FAMU BOT’s reappointment of Robinson, request for waiver of presidential search requirement on BOG agenda

Two big items on the presidency of Florida A&M University are on the agenda for the Thursday meeting of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG).

The BOG will vote on whether to confirm the reappointment of Larry Robinson as interim president and also discuss the FAMU Board of Trustees’ request for a waiver of the requirement for a national search.

Robinson began his third stint as FAMU interim president on September 15, 2016. The BOT voted on September 12, 2017 to extend his contract for one year with an expiration date of September 14, 2018.

In a letter to BOG Chair Thomas Kuntz dated September 29, 2017, FAMU BOT Chair Kelvin Lawson wrote that the trustees supported the contract extension because “continuity and stability is necessary during this period of SACS reaccreditation and the presidential search process. Therefore, the FAMU BOT has reaffirmed its confidence in Dr. Robinson’s established leadership and demonstrated commitment to direct its activities during this transition.”

Back on August 21, 2017, Lawson also sent Kuntz a letter asking that the BOG’s rule that requires a national presidential search be waived.

“This letter comes in light of a recent decision by the FAMU BOT, which voted unanimously, 11-0 (one member absent) to ask the BOG for the waiver regarding its presidential search process. We are requesting flexibility to either conduct a national search or select our current interim president as the permanent president,” Lawson wrote.

Lawson continued: “If our request is granted, we will have the maximum flexibility to make a decision that the total board will feel is in the best interest of FAMU. A national search sends a signal to our stakeholders and supporters that we are not comfortable with our current leadership. That cannot be farther from the truth; we are very comfortable with Dr. Robinson’s leadership and believe that he is an outstanding candidate for the permanent president role.”

The BOG Action Item form on the contract extension recommends that the BOG “confirm the reappointment of Dr. Larry Robinson as the interim president of Florida A&M University.”

But the BOG Action Item form on the national presidential search waiver doesn’t use the same type of supportive language. It simply asks the BOG to “consider request from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University Board of Trustees to waive the requirements of the Presidential Search Process in Board of Governors Regulation 1.002.”  

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