Monday, November 16, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
post broke that news that Spurgeon McWilliams had stepped down from the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT). McWilliams informed Florida Board of Governors (BOG) Chancellor Marshall Criser, III of his decision to leave in a brief letter.
Up until Wednesday, McWilliams was the longest-serving active member of the FAMU BOT. The BOG originally appointed him in 2006. He then received a reappointment in 2011 for a term that was to expire on January 6, 2016.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Back on August 25, WFSU reported that the FAMU Office of Communications had hired Gamble to a job that pays him $75,000 per year. According to WFSU, “Gamble was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony.”
BOG Inspector General Joseph Maleszewski emailed FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Richard Givens on September 9 with questions about the whether the university followed all of its required rules before Gamble was offered a job.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
(L-R) Arthenia Joyner, Mia Jones, Andrew Gillum, Alan Williams, and Dwight Bullard
The Florida Legislature designated FAMU to be in charge of the money and put the funds in the university’s general revenue line between 1987 and 2014. But in May, after the legislature created a new budget entity for the appropriation, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council decided that it was going to start calling the shots about what happens to the $12.9M COE budget instead of FAMU.
The council took that position even though it isn’t even mentioned in the General Appropriations Act that created the new budget entity. No part of the General Appropriations Act says that the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council has permission to take control of the $12.9M COE budget.
Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus should ask Florida Auditor General Sherrill F. Norman to open a formal investigation into the recent actions of the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council and especially its decision to shift the $12.9M COE appropriation from FAMU to FSU. The change was done without a vote of approval from the FAMU Board of Trustees.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
“What we are all hopeful of is that we all have adults in the room that will use their appointed position as president or their appointed position as a Board of Trustees member in a way that most effectively promotes FAMU and protects the resources and tax dollars that are entrusted to them to make sure that FAMU is producing quality graduates,” Williams told the Florida Times-Union.
BOT Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson, who made the motion to deny a bonus to Mangum, said that the shift of the $12.9M core operating budget of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) from FAMU to FSU was a problem that Mangum needed to work to fix. That change was made without a vote of approval from the FAMU BOT and was supported by Mangum. A number of other FAMU trustees have also said that the shift of the COE budget to FSU shouldn't have happened.
Williams could help Mangum with this problem by publicly clarifying the fact that the General Appropriations Act didn’t state that the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council is charge of that $12.9M.
Monday, October 19, 2015
|FAMU Board of Trustees Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson|
One of the biggest accomplishments that Thrasher made this year was getting the $12.9M core operating budget of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) moved from FAMU to FSU after 28 years. That change was made without a vote of approval from the FAMU BOT and was supported by FAMU President Elmira Mangum.
Yesterday, the FAMU BOT voted against awarding Mangum a bonus for her performance during her first year as president. Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson, who made the motion, said that the COE budget shift to FSU was a problem that Mangum needed to work to fix.
“I would like to see us make an active pitch to regain budget authority for the College of Engineering,” Lawson said at the Sunday meeting.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
SB 60) that seeks compensation for the parents of deceased FAMU drum major Robert Champion cites a 2012 report written about FAMU’s anti-hazing program by former Florida Board of Governors (BOG) Inspector General Derry Harper despite the critical state auditor review that preceded Harper’s exit from that job.
Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, introduced the bill on July 31. It does not specify a payment amount. But the Orlando Sentinel reported nine days before the bill was filed that the Champion family had offered to settle its wrongful death lawsuit against FAMU for $8 million. A civil trial is scheduled to begin in October.
FAMU offered the Champions $300,000 in 2012, but the family rejected it. The Florida sovereign immunity law sets $300,000 as the most that state universities can pay as part of a legal proceeding. Higher amounts must come from a claims bill passed by Florida Legislature. A claims bill that Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, filed for the Champion parents in 2013 did not receive approval from the legislature.
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Back in 2001, Gov. Jeb Bush chose Tripp to be a member of the first-ever Board of Trustees at FAU. The six-year graduation rate at the university was 39.8 percent that year. That was the highest it would ever be during Tripp’s years on the BOT.
Monday, September 07, 2015
The statement that led to Smith’s criticism came after FAMU President Elmira Mangum and Provost Marcella David presented the university’s revised Work Plan to the BOG. According to Politico Florida, “Tripp referred specifically to FAMU’s history of serving black students when arguing it must adapt.”
“It just sort of bothers me, I guess, when I hear you say back to me, ‘Well, you know, we have a mission of providing …,” he said without completing the sentence. “We, as a state are trying to provide equal education for everybody. We don’t have separate but equal anymore.”
Thursday, September 03, 2015
Yesterday, the Nomination and Governance Committee of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) recommended that T. Nicole Washington receive an appointment to the FAMU Board of Trustees. The BOG made the selection official today.
Washington will fill the seat formerly held by Marjorie Turnbull, who left earlier this year after her term expired. Her appointment will begin today and continue through 2020 if she is confirmed by the Florida Senate.
Washington is a self-employed educational consultant who lives in South Florida. She formerly served as an analyst in Gov. Rick Scott’s Office of Policy and Budget and then went on to work as associate director of Governmental Relations for the BOG. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University and a master of arts degree from Teachers College of Columbia University.
Friday, August 28, 2015
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
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
“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
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
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
“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
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
“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 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
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.