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

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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fla. House speaker wants BOG review before engineering college split is considered

State Sen. John E. Thrasher’s effort to break up the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering might die in the Florida Legislature’s budget conference negotiations.

According to the Associated Press, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, “said he wants the Florida Board of Governors to weigh in on the proposal before taking any action.”

He told the Tampa Bay Times that: "I would say that both (Florida State University) and (Florida A&M University) have very good points to be made. I would also say that the Board of Governors has a role to play in this conversation. I don’t think the Florida House is in a rush to do anything."

Weatherford’s announcement comes one day after the Tampa Bay Times published an editorial that said any proposed split should be vetted by “the Board of Governors, trustees from both universities, students and the public.”

Friday, February 21, 2014

BOG “confirms” Mangum’s appointment

Yesterday afternoon, the Florida Board of Governors voted to approve Elmira Mangum’s appointment as the 11th president of FAMU.

The BOG’s policy of “confirming” the presidential selections of public university boards of trustees has a controversial past. Back in 2009, state Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) introduced a bill that clarified the fact that only university trustees had power to appoint and supervise the chief executives of their respective schools. It was widely seen as a rebuff of the BOG’s attempt to gain more control over presidential hiring and evaluation decisions.

Gaetz’s bill passed in both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. It had the support of FAMU advocates such as then-Sen. Al Lawson. Gov. Charlie Crist signed it into law on June 23, 2009.

But the Florida Legislature did a large-scale rewrite of the state’s higher education laws during the 2010 session and declined to keep the rule in place. The BOG then reintroduced the presidential “confirmation” policy.

A press release from the BOG stated that Mangum offered a number of compliments to the State University System of Florida’s leadership after the favorable confirmation vote. She is scheduled to begin work at FAMU on April 1, 2014.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

BOG’s poor audit results prove it lacks competence to assess FAMU’s audit division

BOG Vice-Chairman Morteza Hosseini (center)
BOG Chairman Dean Colson (left)
Yesterday, the Tallahassee Democrat published an article about the Florida Board of Governor’s praise for a corrective action plan submitted by FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. The document responded to a 2012 review by former BOG Inspector General Derry Harper. Harper directed heavy criticism against FAMU’s Division of Audit and Compliance (DAC).

The article stated: “The tenor of Thursday’s meeting was markedly different from June 2012, when James H. Ammons was FAMU president and Robinson served as provost. At that meeting, FAMU’s annual work plan was essentially deemed unacceptable by BOG members.”

But once again, the Tallahassee Democrat declined to inform its readers about a 2013 state audit that essentially found the state of the BOG inspector general’s office to be unacceptable.

David W. Martin, the Florida auditor general, scolded the BOG for “noncompliance with statutory requirements” in a quality assessment review of its inspector general’s office. He declared the office to be out-of-compliance with Florida law for its failure to issue any audit reports for more than four years. Another serious finding blasted the BOG for failing to provide verification that Harper had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Scott extends another pre-election olive branch to UF with chancellor pick

Back when Frank Brogan was the chancellor for Florida’s public universities, Rick Scott ran over him like a second-hand doormat. Brogan’s bosses on the Board of Governors, who were just as scared of Scott as he was, joined him in sitting down and shutting up as Scott effectively became the real chancellor of the State University System of Florida (SUS).

Even though it took a little time, the BOG has finally accepted its place under the governor’s thumb.

Earlier this year, Brogan decided to hold on to a few pieces of his dignity by getting the hell out of dodge. He took a $29,500 pay cut to leave Florida and escape to Pennsylvania, where he is now the new public university CEO. But the headlines from last week are full of signs that Scott is still calling the shots at the BOG offices and extending another pre-election olive branch to the University of Florida.

The search committee for the new chancellor unanimously voted to offer the name of Marshall Criser, III, president of AT&T Florida, as its one and only recommendation for Brogan’s replacement.  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Florida reporters continue to give BOG a pass on accountability

Note: This story is part three of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office.”

Back when Derry Harper, former inspector general for the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), released a report that criticized FAMU for permitting ineligible students to march with its band, reporters across the state jumped to put it in the news.

Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout typed up a story that ran with the headline: “Hazing rules ignored before death at FAMU.” The Orlando Sentinel wrote “State report blasts FAMU’s effort to fight hazing before Champion’s death.” The Tallahassee Democrat published an article that said “BOG report is critical of FAMU.”

But Fineout, the Sentinel, and the Democrat haven’t made a peep about the Florida auditor general’s finding that the BOG failed to verify that Harper had the legally required eligibility qualifications for his own job.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Auditor general: BOG’s IG didn’t issue any audit reports for more than 4 years

NOTE: This is part two of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG office.”

State auditors declared the Board of Governors’ (BOG) inspector general’s office to be out-of-compliance with Florida law for its failure to issue any audit reports for more than four years.

“Contrary to the requirements of Section 20.055(5), Florida Statutes, the Office of Inspector General had not issued any audit reports since the Office’s inception in 2007 until the Office issued its audit report on the Board’s ethics climate in August 2012,” Florida Auditor General David W. Martin wrote in a quality assessment review of the BOG inspector general’s office.

Martin explained: “Section 20.055(5), Florida Statutes, requires that the Inspector General conduct financial, compliance, electronic data processing, and performance audits and prepare audit reports of the findings.”

Derry Harper became the first BOG inspector general back in 2007. Frank Brogan decided to retain him when he became chancellor in 2009. Harper resigned shortly after state auditors said the BOG had failed to provide verification that he had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Harper resigns after state auditors demand proof of his legal eligiblity for his own job

Former BOG Inspector General Derry Harper
Note: This story is part one of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office.” 

Derry Harper, the public university inspector general who slammed FAMU for failing to consistently verify the eligibility of its band members, abruptly resigned after state auditors demanded proof that he was legally eligible to hold his own job.

David W. Martin, the Florida auditor general, scolded the Board of Governors (BOG) for “noncompliance with statutory requirements” in a quality assessment review of its inspector general’s office. As part of that finding, he said the BOG failed to provide verification that Harper had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

“Our review disclosed that, while the Inspector General had substantial experience working in the role of an Inspector General, Board records did not contain evidence to demonstrate that the educational background of the incumbent Inspector General met the requirements of Section 20.055(4), Florida Statutes,” Martin wrote.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

RN Special Report: The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office

The Office of the Inspector General at the State University System of Florida (SUS) recently underwent a major shakeup following state audit findings that uncovered the mess that now ex-Chancellor Frank Brogan made there. But you won’t see this story amid the puff pieces that Florida’s newspapers published about Brogan’s exit. You’ll only read it here on Rattler Nation.
                                                         
Join us this week for a look into the issues of legal noncompliance within the SUS central office that preceded the departures of Brogan and his inspector general, Derry Harper.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Brogan leaves Florida after being run over by Scott

Gov. Rick Scott has already made it clear that he, and not Frank Brogan, is really calling the shots in the State University System of Florida (SUS). Brogan never showed any backbone against the governor. But it now looks like he has finally had enough of being pushed around and is saying goodbye.

Brogan will become the new chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) on October 1st.

When he became governor in 2011, Scott began running over Brogan in order to take control of the SUS.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Supremes rule that legislature, not BOG, has power over tuition

Last week, on January 31st, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against a lawsuit claiming that the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) has the power to set tuition rates in the State University System of Florida (SUS). An unanimous opinion authored by Justice Barbara Pariente said that that Florida Legislature’s authority over tuition wasn’t changed by the 2002 constitutional amendment that created the BOG.

“[W]e hold that the constitutional source of the Legislature’s authority to set and appropriate for the expenditure of tuition and fees derives from its power to raise revenue and appropriate for the expenditure of state funds,” Pariente wrote. “Nothing within the language of article IX, section 7, of the Florida Constitution indicates an intent to transfer this quintessentially legislative power to the Board of Governors.”

The BOG originally signed on in support of the lawsuit in 2007. The additional plaintiffs included former U.S. Senator and Governor Bob Graham and former Florida State University President Sandy D’Alemberte.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Brogan lacks backbone to protect SUS from Scott

More than a year ago, Chancellor Frank Brogan should have told Gov. Rick Scott to stay in his lane and stop trying to control presidential employment decisions in the State University System of Florida (SUS). But Brogan continues to look the other way as Scott persists with his power grab at public universities.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is right to step in and do the hard work of fighting Scott. Brogan has zero commitment to protecting SUS schools from the political interference of the governor’s office.

Brogan was hired back in 2009 to help the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) repair its credibility problem with the state legislature. The BOG became a joke in Tallahassee after it sued the legislature for control of tuition-rates in 2007. The Florida Senate introduced a constitutional amendment to place the BOG under the lawmakers’ supervision. When Chancellor Mark Rosenberg appeared before a senate committee to speak against the measure, senators publicly ridiculed him. Rosenburg resigned soon after the embarrassing incident.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Former Florida Chief Justice calls BOG report on FAMU's anti-hazing program "incompetent"

Charles Wells in 2000 during his tenure as the Chief Justice of Florida.
Florida Auditor General David W. Martin recently scolded the Board of Governors (BOG) for failing to do enough to prevent hazing in the State University System of Florida. He said the BOG put students at risk by failing to adopt a detailed regulation that sets specific minimum standards for anti-hazing programs in the SUS.

If BOG Inspector General Derry Harper had made it a priority to try and get the BOG to pass such a policy, the BOG might have avoided that negative audit finding.

Harper’s preliminary report on FAMU’s anti-hazing program is now under fire from a former Florida chief justice.

Charles Wells, who led the Florida Supreme Court from 2000 to 2002, ripped Harper’s work in a court filing he made in support of FAMU on Wednesday, Jan. 16. His filing responded to a motion by Christopher Chestnut, who is representing the parents of deceased FAMU drum major Robert Champion in their civil suit against the university. Chestnut wants Judge Walter Komanski to take Harper’s report under consideration as he reviews FAMU’s motion to dismiss the Champion family’s lawsuit.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Auditor: BOG put students at risk by failing to adopt a strong, statewide anti-hazing regulation

Gov. Rick Scott speaks before the BOG at the University of Central Florida.
The Florida Board of Governors (BOG) has been very loud in criticizing FAMU for the way it has handled the hazing problem on its campus. But the BOG has been rather quiet about the fact that Florida Auditor General David W. Martin recently scolded it for not doing enough to prevent hazing, statewide.

Martin released an operational audit of the BOG on October 16, 2012. His findings criticized the BOG for failing to adopt a detailed regulation that sets specific minimum standards for anti-hazing programs at State University System of Florida (SUS) schools.

According to the audit, the BOG delegated “the responsibility for developing anti-hazing policies, penalties, and enforcements” to individual boards of trustees. The audit pointed out how this BOG decision has led to inconsistent anti-hazing policies across the SUS.

Monday, December 31, 2012

BOG report fails to specify any state laws FAMU’s anti-hazing program allegedly violated

Last week, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) released a preliminary report from an investigation that it launched in response to public allegations that ex-Marching 100 Director Julian White made against FAMU’s senior administration. The probe was later expanded to include a broader review of FAMU’s anti-hazing program.

BOG Inspector General Derry Harper opened the report with a claim that FAMU’s anti-hazing program did not comply with “applicable state law” in 2011.

"Based upon our Preliminary and Tentative Report of Investigation, we conclude that FAMU failed to implement an anti-hazing program that complied with Board of Governors regulations, University regulations or applicable state law due to a lack of effective institutional and internal controls designed to prevent, detect, deter, and discipline students involved in hazing," Harper wrote.

This led to an Associated Press story that began with the line: "The findings from a year-long investigation show that Florida A&M University officials failed to follow state laws and regulations regarding hazing."

The only problem is that Harper’s report fails to specify any state laws that FAMU’s anti-hazing program allegedly failed to observe.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

BOG ends wild goose chase, jumps off Julian White bandwagon

BOG Chairman Dean Colson, BOG Inspector General Derry Harper, and the entire BOG membership joined in on the wild goose hunt.
The Florida Board of Governors (BOG) jumped on the bandwagon of ex-Marching 100 Director Julian White shortly after FAMU announced his termination on Nov. 23, 2011. Yesterday, it officially jumped off.

BOG probe initially resembled a one-sided private investigation

Back on Nov. 29, 2011 then-BOG Chairwoman Ava Parker sent FAMU a letter stating that the board was going to investigate White’s allegations that “he received little support despite repeatedly advising current and former university administrators of hazing activities within the Marching 100 band.” It did not specifically mention any intent to examine then-President James H. Ammons’ claim about a lack of competence on White’s part.

The wild goose chase is finally over. More than a year after Parker’s letter, BOG Inspector General Derry Harper had no choice but to admit that the taxpayer-paid investigation into White’s allegations failed to find any evidence to back up the ex-band director’s claims about receiving “little help.”

“The allegation that FAMU staff failed to adequately address complaints of hazing by former Director of Bands was unsubstantiated,” Harper wrote.