Showing posts with label Thrasher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thrasher. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

“FAMU advocates” are reliable in fighting for the school, Powell isn’t

In an op-ed posted on the Tallahassee Democrat website yesterday, state Sen. Bobby Powell called himself “an advocate” for Florida A&M University. Part of his statement compared his feelings about FAMU, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, to FSU, where he earned his master’s degree.

“With the increasingly negative news that continues to come out of FAMU, it is becoming more and more difficult to be an advocate,” Powell wrote. “On the bright side, I also received a degree from Florida State University.”

Powell’s view of his FSU degree as being the “bright side” over his affiliation with FAMU could help explain a lot. That might be a reason why he hasn’t publicly voiced concern that FSU alumni hold most of the appointed seats on their alma mater’s Board of Trustees (BOT) while there are only two alumni in appointed seats on the FAMU BOT.

Friday, May 12, 2017

2001: Times-Union reports “Thrasher admitted breaking ethics laws”

John Thrasher was elected FSU BOT chair about two months after he admitted to an ethics violation
Back in July of 2001, the Florida Times-Union reported that former Florida House of Representatives Speaker John Thrasher “admitted breaking ethics laws forbidding former legislators from lobbying lawmakers within two years of leaving office. He has agreed to pay a $500 fine.”

“Sure I regret it, but it was not an intentional violation,” Thrasher said in a quote published by the newspaper.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Questions rise about whether Thrasher violated lobbying restrictions set in state law

Back in February, the Naples Daily News ran an investigative story entitled “Document suggests former state Sen. Thrasher violated lobbying ban as FSU chief.” It looked into the question of whether Florida State University President John Thrasher, a former state senator, “violated the state law that forbids former lawmakers for a two-year period from lobbying the Legislature.”

Thrasher left the Florida Senate in 2014 to become the president of FSU. That meant that under state law, he could not lobby the Florida Legislature until 2016.

The Naples Daily News highlighted “a 2015 form with Thrasher named as the requester and dated before the former senator's ban on lobbying expired” that was submitted to the Florida Legislature. It requested $1M for the FSU College of Law.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

FAMU, USF hurt by local lawmakers who didn’t contest proposals that harmed the schools, but helped Thrasher

Back in 2015, Florida A&M University lost control of the then $12.9M FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) budget. This legislative session, a last minute bill change resulted in the University of South Florida to miss out on $10M it expected to receive by finally gaining “preeminent” university status.

Both legislative proposals that led to those harmful effects went uncontested by local lawmakers who represented FAMU and USF. Florida State University President John Thrasher ended up being the big winner in each case.

FAMU controlled millions for the COE from 1987 to 2015. But in 2015, the Florida Legislature shifted the $12.9M COE appropriation from the FAMU general revenue line to a new budget entity. Then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum joined Thrasher in stating that a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council would call the shots on the COE operating budget. That made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to out-vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Suspicious COL, COE dean changes hurt Mangum’s credibility with many faculty, alumni

At this time last year, the FAMU campus was buzzing with word that then-President Elmira Mangum might be preparing to show four deans the door for reasons that had nothing to do with the university’s best interests.

The names circulating as the possible “targeted” deans were School of Architecture and Engineering Technology Dean Rodner B. Wright, School of Business and Industry Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean Michael D. Thompson, and School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean Ann L. Wead Kimbrough.

There were legitimate reasons to believe that some dean changes were needed. But the bigger question was whether the Mangum administration could be trusted to treat deans fairly.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NCA&T controls millions at its COE, FAMU lost control of $12.9M at FAMU-FSU COE

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin listens as then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum speaks in 2015
North Carolina A&T University is not only the largest single campus historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation, but its College of Engineering remains the #1 producer of engineering degrees on the undergraduate level awarded to African Americans.

The NCA&T College of Engineering continues to benefit from Chancellor Harold Martin’s decision to make it a central part of his vision for strengthening the university’s presence in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Martin’s work to build his alma mater’s engineering programs goes back to his years of service as chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and later dean of the college.

One big advantage that NCA&T’s engineering college currently has over Florida A&M University’s is that NCA&T controls millions of recurring dollars in legislative appropriations for its program. A study from 2011 estimated that the recurring appropriation for the NCA&T College of Engineering was about $5M per year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

FSU got secret $2M on behalf of FAMU-FSU COE, Mangum’s name wasn’t on request form

A report by the Naples Daily News shows that FSU President John Thrasher got his university a secret $2M appropriation on behalf of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). But then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s name wasn’t on the request form he submitted to the Florida Legislature.

“The College of Engineering shared by FSU and Florida A&M University also received $2 million in a one-time secret appropriation that lists Thrasher as the requester on a form also dated Dec. 4, 2015, with [FSU lobbyist Kathleen Daly] identified as the contact, records show. FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s name was not included on the form,” the newspaper reported.

The December 4, 2015 request by Thrasher came less than five months after FAMU lost budget authority for the COE. July 1, 2015 was the date that the Chief Financial Officer of Florida began sending the multi-million dollar appropriated budget for the engineering college to FSU instead of FAMU. FAMU had previously gotten the funds in its general revenue line for 28 years.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Audit says FSU didn’t follow state’s competitive selection process for $18.9M in contracts

Back in January, Florida Auditor General Sherrill F. Norman released her first operational audit for John Thrasher’s administration at Florida State University (FSU). The audit said that the university didn’t follow the state-required competitive selection process for a total of $18.9M in contracts for facilities projects.

“The University did not competitively select, in accordance with State law, construction management entity, architectural, and engineering firms for the renovations and repairs to the Civic Center and Strozier Library Projects with costs totaling $16.1 million and $2.8 million, respectively,” the audit summary said.

The full audit report went on to say that: “Specifically, given the similar project contract dates and service providers used, it appeared that University personnel divided the Civic Center and Strozier Library projects into smaller projects to keep the individual project costs below the $2 million required competitive selection process threshold.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2015: Thrasher praises Mangum’s support of changes that lead FAMU to lose budget control at COE

Back at a Florida Board of Governors (BOG) meeting on February 19, 2015, FSU President John Thrasher praised then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum for supporting a plan with changes that helped him put an end to 28 years of FAMU budget control at the joint College of Engineering (COE).

He made the comments as Mangum sat in the chair next to him.

Thrasher told the BOG: “The thing that I think President 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, frankly go back to making this a successful program for the students.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2014: Robinson takes Thrasher to task for suggesting he agreed to split COE, calls claim “comical”

Back in 2014, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, suggested that former FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson had supported the idea of splitting the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) while he was in office.

But Robinson publicly took him to task for mischaracterizing his position.

“That is totally incorrect,” Robinson said in response to Thrasher’s claim in a Miami Herald blog story by reporter Tia Mitchell.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rattler Nation: Stories you read here first during the Mangum years (Part 1)

Florida A&M University saw years of progress roll backwards during the presidency of Elmira Mangum (2014-2016). Here are some of the stories you read here first on Rattler Nation before they hit the state and national headlines:

FAMU loses budget control of FAMU-FSU College of Engineering after 28 years
FSU President John Thrasher used Mangum to help him put an end to FAMU’s budget control at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). His effort was boosted by Mangum's failure to understand the fact that FAMU had been in charge of the money for 28 years. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

FAMU president has final say on faculty appointments, not deans

Last month’s Rattler Nation editorial that mentioned how John Thrasher used former FAMU President Elmira Mangum to help him put an end to 28 years of FAMU budget control at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) got the usual misinformed responses on social media from Rattlers-in-name-only who still don’t have a clue.

FAMU went from having control over the then-$10.4M COE budget in 2015 to now just being the tenure home of the COE dean.

One of the nonsense claims that’s still being spread is that FAMU is really better off now because previous COE deans declined to fill vacant FAMU faculty positions and moving the dean’s tenure home to FAMU was necessary to fix that problem.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lee built social media following among gullible, Rattlers-in-name-only

John Michael Lee is one of the biggest defenders of Elmira Mangum, the FAMU president who John Thrasher used to help him put an end to 28 years of FAMU budget control at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). But now Lee is asking to be taken seriously in his claim that the powers-that-be are “using” the current FAMU administration.

The saddest thing is that Lee has a small, but loud social media following of gullible Rattlers-in-name-only who believe him.

On Monday, FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson terminated Lee’s contract as a special assistant in the Office of the President. Lee responded by putting his termination letter on display in an unofficial FAMU Alumni Facebook page and then posting rants with conspiracy theories about recent events at the university. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

David supported Joint Council in ending FAMU budget control at engineering college

FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Kelvin Lawson has said that Provost Marcella David could be named as an acting replacement for President Elmira Mangum next week. But David has been at the center of many of the biggest problems that led the BOT to deny Mangum a contract extension.

Last year, David helped Mangum and Florida State University President John Thrasher put an end to the 28 years of FAMU budget control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

Back in 2015, with Mangum and David’s support, the legislature moved the $12.9M for the COE from the FAMU line to a new budget entity called “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.” 

Following the transfer, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council decided that it was going to start calling the shots on the COE operating budget. This has made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to now out vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Budget control decides how much money goes to diversity efforts at FAMU-FSU engineering

New FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) Dean J. Murray Gibson is continuing to say the right things about bringing more diversity to the school.

WCTV-6 reported yesterday that Gibson “plans to invest time in recruiting and retaining FAMU students. Right now, the school has roughly 2,200 students, but only about three to four hundred are FAMU students. There are about 100 staff members, yet only about a third are FAMU faculty members.”

Those things are all good. But the choice of how much money will actually be designated for diversity efforts at the COE is out of his hands.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Student losses take most of FAMU's $11.5M performance funds, FSU's $35M being invested

Not having to scramble to find money for a multi-million dollar enrollment nosedive really makes a difference.

Yesterday, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) announced performance funding amounts for the State University System of Florida.

Florida State University received $35,574,608 in performance funds. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, “FSU said the money will be used to hire top professors in the STEM fields, along with student support services. It also will be invested in the university’s Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement program, which supports first-generation college students.”

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Online petitioners even more misinformed about FAMU-FSU engineering than Mangum

FAMU currently has a president who showed last July that she didn’t understand FAMU controlled the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) for 28 years.

Now, there are online petitioners who appear to know even less about the COE than she does.

A change.org petition started by a poster named “Rattlers4FAMU Real Rattlers” is asking the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) to grant President Elmira Mangum a contract extension. The petition attempts to support that request with a number of misinformed claims about the COE.

The petition claims that some individuals “are using what we call the ‘South Carolina Strategy’ to attempt to destroy FAMU. The SC Strategy includes…2. Closing high-impact programs in STEM (e.g. joint engineering school).”

Monday, May 02, 2016

Thrasher used smart strategy to guarantee he gets result he wants in COE dean selection

FSU Professor Emmanuel Collins and FSU Professor Bruce Locke
Selection process for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering dean since 1987
Back in 2015, the FAMU administration led by President Elmira Mangum said that “gaining the responsibility of selecting the dean” of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) was important for FAMU.

“Arresting the decline in FAMU’s student body means hiring new faculty, which is an important factor in attracting students. The dean has the responsibility of approving vacant and new line items. Gaining the responsibility of selecting the dean will help to address this issue,” a FAMU press release said.

But “gaining the responsibility of selecting the dean” isn’t what happened at FAMU.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thrasher has power to keep Locke in FAMU-FSU deanship for as long as he wants

Back when Elmira Mangum agreed to jointly appoint Bruce Locke as the interim dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE), she also indirectly gave John Thrasher the power to keep him that position for as long as he wants.

Locke is a professor with tenure at FSU and was an FSU associate provost when Mangum gave her approval for his joint appointment to the COE interim deanship. He is now a finalist for the permanent COE deanship.

If Thrasher wants Locke to become permanent dean and Mangum says “no,” then Locke will just stay on in the interim deanship on an indefinite basis.

Rattler Nation has been writing about this obvious problem for months.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Treatment of Yeboah a stain on FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s reputation

Yaw D. Yeboah, a native of Ghana, became the first black dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) on July 1, 2012. He then abruptly announced his resignation less than three years later amid a shakeup that handed new FSU President John Thrasher all the cards for deciding the future of the deanship.  

Yeboah had emphasized the diversity component of the COE mission during his short time as the dean.

“Time is a gift that we have to use to grow, produce and serve — which is synonymous with the motto of the college: ‘Quality, Growth and Diversity,’” he said during his first year. “My long-term plan is for the college to grow strategically, be diverse and have nationally ranked engineering programs from both the academic and research viewpoints.”

But the new focus of the COE and its current deanship search appears to be Thrasher’s goal of helping FSU become one of the top 25 public universities.