Showing posts with label BOG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BOG. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2015

BOG not signaling any interest in saving Mangum presidency

Back in June, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) said that it would review the claims from a group of FAMU alumni in the legislature who said that FAMU Board of Trustee Chairman Rufus Montgomery’s treatment of President Elmira Mangum has been “bordering dangerously close to bullying.” But the BOG still isn’t signaling any interest in saving the Mangum presidency.

The tension between Rufus and Mangum has increased in the weeks after the lawmakers took their concerns to the BOG.  The latest clash took place on August 17 when Mangum accused Rufus of violating her “employee rights according to University Regulation 10.103(3b) -Nondiscrimination Policy and Harassment Procedures.” She later told the Florida Times-Union that she thought Rufus was working toward the goal of firing her.

But BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser and BOG member Matthew Carter both downplayed the seriousness of the problems that Rufus and Mangum have with each other in statements to the media this week. Criser brushed off the issue by saying that it was “noise around the edges.” Carter told a reporter that “I don’t think the relationship is broken.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Separate FSU budget for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering grows to $7M

The separate budget that Florida State University has for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) is continuing to grow. A WCTC-6 story on the COE from yesterday reported that “the budget is $12.9 million, plus $7 million from FSU that will be going to the joint college.”

That is up from last year. A Tallahassee Democrat article from 2014 reported that “the FSU budget is $5 million ‘and has been growing,’ [Dean Yaw Yeboah] said.” That money paid for 36 FSU professors in 2014. The separate FSU engineering budget was also referenced in the study that CBT University Consulting presented to the Florida Board of Governors earlier this year. The study said that there was “roughly $6 million within FSU that supports Joint College faculty and research.”

FSU receives money for its separate engineering budget in its general revenue from the Florida Legislature.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Alumni challenge Mangum’s claim that FAMU didn’t previously have budget control for COE

On July 21, FAMU Trustee Cleve Warren asked President Elmira Mangum if FAMU had controlled the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) before the creation of the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council in 2015. The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council passed a resolution back on May 20 to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU.

“For clarity purposes, before the creation of this joint committee, did A&M have control of the budget?” Warren asked.

“My opinion would be that the dean controlled the expenditures of the College of Engineering; FAMU kept account of them,” Mangum said.

Trustee Kelvin Lawson, a FAMU alumnus, disagreed and said that FAMU had the “responsibility for managing the budget” in the past. He added that the management responsibility wasn’t limited to executing “joint decisions.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mangum likely to have few defenders left on FAMU Board of Trustees by January

The next round of term expirations on the FAMU Board of Trustees could make it even harder for Elmira Mangum to keep her administrative ship above water.

Back in April, Rufus Montgomery won the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees with a 9-4 victory against Cleve Warren. The vote count showed the split between the trustees who were supporters of Mangum and those who either want her gone or appear to be losing patience with her.

Rufus has been Mangum’s biggest headache on the Board of Trustees since her contract negotiations last year. He was a leader in the unsuccessful attempts to set her starting salary at $325,000 instead of the $425,000 she wanted and also to try to deny her a tenured position in the FAMU College of Education.

Mangum and Rufus went on to clash at Board of Trustees meetings with Rufus telling her during an August 11, 2014 conference call that the board could cut off her microphone. According to a Tallahassee Democrat article that ran later that month: “Reminded that Montgomery is closely affiliated with Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed him to FAMU’s board, Mangum responded: ‘What does that say about the people that appointed him?’”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mangum’s attempts to mend fences with Scott too little, too late

Gov. Rick Scott could make Elmira Mangum’s problems with the FAMU Board of Trustees go away with only a minimal amount of effort on his part. But she doesn’t have much of a chance of getting any help from him after what she said last year.

Back on August 23, 2014, the Tallahassee Democrat ran a story that included the following comments that Mangum made about Trustee Rufus Montgomery: “Reminded that Montgomery is closely affiliated with Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed him to FAMU’s board, Mangum responded: ‘What does that say about the people that appointed him?’”

Scott appointed Rufus to the FAMU Board of Trustees back in 2011. 

That statement to the Tallahassee Democrat might have seemed like a good idea to Mangum back when the polls were showing that Scott was in a neck-and-neck race with former Gov. Charlie Crist for the governorship. But Scott won his bid for reelection just over two months after that statement was published.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Criser memo in Tallahassee Democrat doesn’t mention separate FSU engineering budget

Last week, the Tallahassee Democrat ran a memo written by Florida Board of Governors (BOG) Chancellor Marshall Criser, III that discussed the recent changes at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). The memo defended the shift of the $12,996,539 core operating budget for the COE from the FAMU general revenue line item in the General Appropriations Act to a new budget entity entitled “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.”

“Furthermore, the College’s shared financial structure is enhanced, not reduced, by the establishment of a separate appropriation category in the 2015-2016 General Appropriations Act,” Criser wrote. “The new category renews the College’s focus on its state’s investment and on its expenditures and is a crucial step toward establishing a College that truly operates in unison.”

But the memo as it appeared in the Democrat didn't mention that Florida State University still has a separate budget of more than $5 million that pays for about 38 FSU professors at the COE. That money is not part of the new “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering” budget entity that the BOG asked the legislature to put in the General Appropriations Act.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mangum defends FAMU’s diversity and Academic Opportunity Success students

In the Sunday edition of the Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU President Elmira Mangum defended the university’s diversity and Academy Opportunity Success students from criticism she received from members of the Florida Board of Governors.

From: “Q&A: Mangum says FAMU ‘committed to diversity’”:

Q: Did Board of Governors members catch the university off-guard by suggesting that FAMU diversify its student body population?

A: “No. The university is fully committed to diversity. One of the three investment strategies in our Work Plan is to broaden our student base.

This administration has visited Brazil, India, various African countries, and China as part of our efforts to broaden the base.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Rufus defends his treatment of Mangum amid calls for BOG inquiry

Yesterday, FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery publicly defended his treatment of President Elmira Mangum since her hiring last year. The comments came after a group of FAMU alumni in the Florida Legislature said his interactions with her “are bordering dangerously close to bullying.”

“As the leader, I take responsibility for any valid criticisms for any decisions that the board makes,” Rufus said in an interview with WCTV-6. “But, in this case, we’ve yet to hear anyone successfully challenge the facts that were presented at the board meeting in question.”

At a June 10 board meeting, Rufus and other trustees blasted Mangum for allegedly failing to properly communicate with them and making other administrative decisions they felt were questionable.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Graham elected chair of FSA, becomes student representative on BOG

Last week, FAMU Student Body President Tonnette S. Graham became the new student representative on the Florida Board of Governors (BOG). She earned the position by virtue of her election as the chairwoman of the Florida Student Association (FSA).

Graham is now the official voice of the more than 330,000 students within the State University System (SUS) of Florida. She is also the first black woman to represent FSA on the BOG.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Absence of FSU appropriation from new budget entity shows “transparency” talk isn’t sincere

When a politician with John Thrasher’s level of ruthlessness asks for a major legislative change with vague language, you can bet that he has a trick up his sleeve. This can now be seen in the “deal” on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Back on February 19, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) approved a proposal to ask the legislature to create a new budget entity for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The plan said that the new budget entity would “include all operating funds for the Joint College, including the appropriate amount of plant operation and maintenance funds.”

“The thing that I think President [Elmira Mangum] and I have both agreed on and certainly with your staff is this, this, these changes, these changes that we’re talking about, the organizational changes, the transparency, the accountability, which are all in here, which you all, every one of you I know believe in, uh, frankly go back to making this a successful program for the students,” FSU President Thrasher told the BOG at that meeting.

Thrasher also told WCTV-6 that the BOG plan “creates a new opportunity for governance of the school as well as trying to isolate and put into a separate fund the resources that we get for the joint college.”

But despite what Thrasher said about “transparency” and putting “into a separate fund the resources that we get for the joint college,” millions of dollars that FSU receives for the College of Engineering are not in the new budget entity.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Law should directly state that FAMU, not Joint Council, will receive and manage engineering budget

FAMU received the annual appropriation for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s core operations in its general revenue budget from 1987 until 2014. But that is changing this legislative session. The Florida House and Senate have both placed the program’s operating funds into a new budget entity entitled: “Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Florida State University College of Engineering from General Revenue Fund.”

Neither the House nor the Senate version of the General Appropriations Act explicitly says what institution will receive the appropriation on behalf of the College of Engineering. The legislature should place some clarifying language into the law that directly states an intent for FAMU to continue receiving and managing those funds.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

FAMU trustees need to seek answers about new budget entity for FAMU-FSU engineering

The FAMU Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet at 1:00 p.m. today. The only major item on the agenda is the election of officers. Before the board adjourns, it needs to ask some important questions about what is happening to the legislative appropriations for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Back on February 19, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) voted to seek a "new budget entity" for the funds that the Florida Legislature designates for the college. It went ahead with that decision even though the FAMU Board of Trustees had not taken a vote to support any changes to the program.

On that day, FSU President John Thrasher told WCTV-6 that the BOG plan “creates a new opportunity for governance of the school as well as trying to isolate and put into a separate fund the resources that we get for the joint college.”

But despite what Thrasher said in February, the new budget entity does not have all of the operating funds that the College of Engineering received in 2014.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Fla. House, Senate approve new budget entity for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

The Florida House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on the creation of a new budget entity for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Title XIV, Chapter 216 of the Florida Statues states that a “budget entity” is “a unit or function at the lowest level to which funds are specifically appropriated in the appropriations act.”

The new budget entity for the college appears as item 138A under Section 2 of the General Appropriations Act in both chambers. It is entitled “Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Florida State University College of Engineering from General Revenue Fund.” The House proposes $12,999,761 but the Senate proposes slightly less with $12,997,476.

This changes the appropriations method of the past 28 years, when FAMU received the core operating funds for the College of Engineering as part of its general revenue budget. On February 19, the Florida Board of Governors voted to seek a new budget entity for the program when it approved a proposal entitled “Commitment to Guiding Principles and a Plan of Action for the FAMU-FSU Joint College of Engineering.” That plan received the support of both the FAMU and FSU presidents.  

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

“New budget entity” for College of Engineering a bad idea with Thrasher at FSU

The $10.9M operations budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering could be permanently removed from FAMU’s general revenue appropriation this legislative session unless the university’s Board of Trustees acts to stop it from happening.

FAMU currently receives the annual $10.9M legislative appropriation that pays for the maintenance needs and plant operations of the College of Engineering in its general revenue funds. That money also pays the salaries of 23 FAMU professors and 27 Florida State University professors. FSU receives a separate appropriation of $5M in its general revenue budget that pays for another 36 professors. A report by the Capital News Service stated that the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) wants to change this so that “funding from lawmakers will go directly to the school instead of both universities.”

On Thursday, February 19, the BOG voted to approve a proposal entitled “Commitment to Guiding Principles and a Plan of Action for the FAMU-FSU Joint College of Engineering.” It states that: “The creation of a new budget entity for the Joint College will be pursued during the 2015 legislative session, to include all operating funds for the Joint College, including the appropriate amount of plant operation and maintenance funds.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

$10.9M engineering college appropriation in FAMU’s budget should be left alone

Despite an Associated Press article that reported an announcement by the chancellor of the State University System of Florida that “an agreement has been reached” on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the FAMU Board of Trustees has not voted to support any changes to the program. The FAMU trustees should not give their backing to the Board of Governors’ (BOG) plan to ask the Florida Legislature to create “a new budget entity” to receive the college’s operating funds.

On Thursday, February 19, the BOG voted to approve a proposal entitled “Commitment to Guiding Principles and a Plan of Action for the FAMU-FSU Joint College of Engineering.” It states that: “The creation of a new budget entity for the Joint College will be pursued during the 2015 legislative session, to include all operating funds for the Joint College, including the appropriate amount of plant operation and maintenance funds.”

Monday, December 01, 2014

USDOE civil rights office expresses concerns about possible FAMU-FSU engineering split

Catherine Lhamon, USDOE Asst. Sec. for Civil Rights
The Obama administration has officially informed the State of Florida about its reservations concerning the possible split of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

According to a preliminary report by CBT University Consulting, the firm hired to study the college for the Board of Governors (BOG), “[U.S. Department of Education] Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon, in a letter to Governor Rick Scott dated April 25, 2014, expressed concern that separation of the Joint College was under consideration.”

Lhamon’s office is responsible for enforcing the consent decree that Florida entered into with the former Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). During the year 1973, the HEW civil rights office ordered Florida to either begin complying in honesty with Congressional laws that mandated the desegregation of higher education or lose $70M in federal money. If inflation is taken into account, that $70M from 1973 would be about $370M today.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Students protest as BOG votes to confirm John Thrasher as FSU president

Yesterday, about 50 Florida State University students gathered outside of the campus’ Westcott Building to protest as the Board of Governors (BOG) deliberated on whether to confirm state Sen. John Thrasher as the school’s next president.

“We are asking for an academic president, we are asking for someone that is qualified,” said Sydney Norris, one of the FSU students who participated in the demonstration.

Thrasher has no experience as a senior administrator at an institution of higher education. He is a lawyer who went to serve as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and later a member of the Florida Senate.

The BOG unanimously voted to confirm Thrasher’s appointment at its Wednesday meeting at Florida Atlantic University. It also confirmed Kent Fuchs to serve as the president of the University of Florida.

Back during this year’s legislative session, Thrasher led an unsuccessful effort to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and give FSU $13M to begin the process of creating a separate college. He declined to offer FAMU the $5M in new recurring dollars that would be necessary to replace all of the FSU faculty who would leave or the $100M that would be required to build a new engineering school building on FAMU’s main campus.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering receives another big investment as BOG studies possible split

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering continues to receive large financial investments from the state even as the Board of Governors (BOG) continues a $500,000 study into possibly splitting the program.

The 2014-2015 budget passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott included $10M to expand the facilities of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The money will help the program start construction on a brand new “Building C.”

Now, the State of Florida has another big taxpayer-funded investment in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Yesterday, the BOG held a press conference to celebrate its decision to award a $3M grant to FAMU and FSU that the joint E-College will play a key role in administering. The funds, which come from a $15M legislative appropriation for collaborative university projects, will pay for a program called “Expanding North Florida’s IT Career Pathways.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

BOG has no standing to lecture state universities about shady executive searches

BOG Chairman Mori Hosseini with fellow board members
The FAMU presidential search process was bad, but the one at Florida State University has been plain ugly.

At least the individuals who attempted to ruin the search for FAMU’s 11th president had enough shame to pretend like they weren’t trying to do so. FSU’s presidential search committee seemed ready to simply fast track state Sen. John E. Thrasher into the job before faculty and student protests and negative editorials pressured it to back down.

Now, members of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) are using the FSU controversy and embarrassing showdown over FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s contract as excuses to help them claim more control over future presidential search processes at public universities. BOG Chairman Mori Hosseini says there should be more BOG members on presidential selection committees.

Shady searches for top executives have become a serious problem in the State University System of Florida (SUS). And the BOG’s two most recent chancellorship searches offer some of the best examples.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BOG study set to become another battleground in fight to defend FAMU’s engineering programs

The fight to defend FAMU’s current engineering programs is just beginning.

On Sunday, the Florida Legislature put the brakes on a proposal to break up the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The Senate and House reached a deal to appropriate $500,000 for the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) to study the issue first. That’s up from an original proposal for a $150,000 study.

According to the budget language, the BOG is to produce "an academic feasibility analysis" that will consider "options relating to separation of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering with the goal of achieving world class engineering education opportunities for students in both universities."

But the rest of directive makes it clear that FAMU must prepare to defend itself against possible recommendations for the reduction of the university’s current engineering programs.