Showing posts with label flashback. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flashback. Show all posts

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, December 01, 2016

Rattler Nation: Stories you read here first during the Mangum years (Part 2)

Many supporters of former FAMU President Elmira Mangum didn’t want to talk about her poor treatment of the university faculty or the millions FAMU lost due to her enrollment decline. But full coverage of those issues was available here on Rattler Nation. 

Jackson speaks out about Mangum administration’s treatment of FAMU faculty
One of the top viewed stories of all Rattler Nation’s posts on Mangum was the one that included the full text of the open letter written by School of Business and Industry Professor Annette Singleton Jackson.

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. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Johnson supported Washington’s personally-driven impeachment campaign against Graham

Brandon Johnson, “interim” president of the FAMU Student Senate, was at the front-and-center of a series of weak efforts to encourage students to oppose the planned ouster of President Elmira Mangum. His call for students to join protests against the proposed exit agreement for Mangum received little support. Only about 20 students stayed the night during a sleep-in he led outside the Grand Ballroom on Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Johnson has fallen flat in trying to get FAMU students to back him. Most FAMU students weren’t in agreement when he joined Kyle Washington’s personally-driven impeachment campaign against then-Student Government Association (SGA) President Tonnette Graham.

Graham was the first black woman to win reelection to the SGA presidency and the first black woman to represent the Florida Student Association on the Florida Board of Governors.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

2007: Maxwell fails to fact check Castell's inaccurate information about student scholars

The inaccurate information that former FAMU Interim President Castell Bryant spread about a cohort of National Achievement Scholars and Semifinalists that came to the university in 1997 just won’t go away. It’s now become a topic of discussion in the unofficial “FAMU Alumni” page on Facebook.

“I think Dr. [Frederick S. Humphries] is probably one of the most effective recruiters I have ever known. And the fact that he was able to recruit all those black national merit scholars to FAMU is actually phenomenal,” Castell said in a 2007 interview with the St. Petersburg Times columnist Bill Maxwell. “During some semesters, he recruited more black merit scholars than Harvard. The sad part is that most of the students did not graduate from FAMU. In fact, at one point, only 12 out of a cohort of 84 National Merit Scholars graduated.”

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

FAMUan reports say Washington urged impeachment against Agnew, Graham

The drama surrounding Kyle Washington, current student engagement coordinator for the FAMU Office of Communications, hasn’t been limited to cable television.

Articles by The FAMUan state that Washington urged the FAMU Student Senate to impeach two Student Government Association (SGA) presidents in the past.

Back in 2007, FAMUan reporter Latasha Edwards wrote that “Washington told the senate he wanted to impeach Student Body President Phillip Agnew.

“We need to impeach Philip Agnew for the basis on not doing his job, not informing us on what's going on with the Board of Trustees and administrators, violating state laws, purchasing contracts, and allowing our administration to spend out of control as they have,” Washington was quoted as saying in the article.

Agnew said “the accusations are unfounded and ridiculous.” He added that Washington was of “no relevance in terms of impeachment.”

Monday, July 25, 2016

June 2016: SBI professor warns BOT about possible targeting of 4 FAMU deans

At the June 10, 2016 meeting of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT), School of Business and Industry Professor Clyde Ashley told board members about the possible targeting of four deans at the university.

Ashley didn’t go into details about what he meant when he said the deans were “being targeted.” But the four deans he mentioned during his two-minute speech in the public comments section of the meeting were School of Architecture and Engineering Technology Dean Rodner B. Wright, SBI 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.

President Elmira Mangum didn’t comment on the issue at the BOT meeting.

Monday, July 18, 2016

1997: Humphries enrolls nearly 11,000 students, freshmen SAT scores above national average

General Motors ad that ran between 1989 and 1990
Back in Fall 1997, Florida A&M University had 10,998 students. That’s more than any historically black college or university (HBCU) today. North Carolina A&T University (NCA&T) was the largest single campus HBCU in Fall 2015 with 10,852 students.

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin boosted his school’s enrollment in Fall 2015 and expects more enrollment growth in Fall 2016.

FAMU’s enrollment in Fall 2015 dropped to 9,920 (down from 10,233 in Fall 2014) under President Elmira Mangum. That cost FAMU $9M+ from tuition and fee losses. FAMU expects to lose about another $10M due to its projected loss of 920 students in 2016-2017.

Monday, June 27, 2016

2014: Mangum says she’s not convinced hazing incident led to FAMU enrollment decline

The enrollment drop at FAMU didn’t start with President Elmira Mangum. But the financial losses from the continued decline in students have gotten worse since she’s been in office.

FAMU lost a total of $9.2M in tuition and fees because of declining enrollment in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.The university then took a hit of $9.2M due to the enrollment decline in 2014-2015.

FAMU lost another $9M because of the enrollment drop in 2015-2016, after Mangum had over a year to lead recruitment efforts. FAMU expects to lose more than $9M in 2016-2017 due to its projected loss of 920 students.

Some Mangum supporters are trying to blame the enrollment decline on the negative news from the 2011 hazing death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion. They appear to want people to forget how Mangum herself responded to that assumption in 2014.

Monday, June 06, 2016

2015: Request for NAA “letters of support for Dr. Mangum” raises concerns

Back during the June 2015 meetings of the FAMU Board of Trustees, then-Chairman Rufus Montgomery gave the Special Committee on Governance a compilation of documents on issues that he thought needed to be discussed as part of the annual evaluation process for President Elmira Mangum.

One of those documents was a copy of a June 2 email that Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson sent to Rufus, then-General Counsel Avery McKnight, and BOT Liaison Linda Barge-Miles. The email was entitled: “Fwd: President Mangum Letters of Support – Request” and contained two forwarded emails that were sent from FAMU Alumni Affairs staffers to officers of the FAMU National Alumni Association (NAA).

The first forwarded email was dated May 27 and was from Brandon Hill, who then served as the FAMU coordinator of membership services and alumni reunions. It was addressed to “NAA Leadership” and said that “Alumni Affairs Assistant Vice President, Dr. John Lee has asked that we reach out to all of our NAA Chapter Presidents to solicit letters of support for Dr. Elmira Mangum and the outstanding work that she is doing at FAMU. We are told these letters will be used in the President’s annual review. Dr. Lee kindly asks that all letters be submitted via email by Friday, May 29, 2015 to our office.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2015: Lawson says Mangum refuses to trust anybody

Back in July of 2015, FAMU lost budget authority for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) after 28 years. FAMU President Elmira Mangum supported the changes that led to this.

The next month, FAMU alumnus and former state Sen. Alfred “Al” Lawson told a reporter that he had offered his help to Mangum a number of times but she wasn’t interested in hearing what he had to say.

The News Service of Florida report stated that “Lawson said Mangum doesn't trust anyone.”

“I told her I wanted her to be successful,” Lawson said in a quote in the article. “I've been around for a long time, and I could keep her from running into roadblocks. … I was not trying to be hired or anything. I did that on three different occasions, and it did not work out.”

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2007: Lawson succeeds in blocking Lowe’s reappointment to FAMU Board of Trustees

Back when Florida A&M University alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson was in the Florida Senate he didn’t just talk about holding FAMU trustees responsible for their actions. He did it.

In 2007, Lawson rallied members of the majority Republican state Senate to block the reappointment of Challis Lowe, the chairwoman of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT).

Lowe was one of the biggest supporters of former Interim President Castell Bryant, defending her even as her administration received the first and only qualified state audits in the history of FAMU.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

2010: Carter ousted as chairman of scandal-plagued Florida Public Service Commission

Back in 2009, Matthew Carter, II was denied reappointment to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) amid reported suspicions that the agency was inappropriately close to the private utility companies that it had a duty to regulate.

Carter, who was the sitting PSC chairman at the time and was seeking another term, had issued a press release weeks earlier saying he took “great offense” at the suggestion that he and the other commissioners were “too cozy with regulated industries, [Florida Power & Light Co.] in particular.”

Monday, January 25, 2016

Suspicions of administrative interference with internal auditor not new at FAMU

On Oct. 21, FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens wrote the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) to report “potential interference with the work of Audit & Compliance.” Givens was in the middle of looking into questions from the Florida auditor general about spending on the campus President’s House when he received an email from FAMU Vice-President for Finance and Administration Dale Cassidy that led him to send that notice to the BOT.

This isn’t the first time that there have been suspicions of administrative interference with the duties of the FAMU internal auditor.

Monday, January 18, 2016

1988: Meek, Lawson blast BOR for talking to Humphries in a demeaning manner

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) will hold a meeting at Florida State University. Three Florida A&M University Board of Trustees vacancies will be on the agenda.

The FAMU alumni in the Florida Legislature have let the BOG run all over their alma mater since 2015. They are still silent in the aftermath of BOG-supported changes that led to FAMU losing control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) budget after 28 years, BOG member Norman Tripp talking to FAMU administrators in a condescending way, and FAMU’s alumni being reduced to a minority in the 11 appointed university Board of Trustees seats.

FAMU used to have much stronger alumni legislators like Carrie P. Meek and Al Lawson who didn’t back down when the former Board of Regents (BOR) did things that were harmful to the school.

Monday, July 20, 2015

2014: Robinson, Vilsack sign historic deal to transfer 3,800 acres of federal land to FAMU

Back in 2014, FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signed a historic agreement to transfer 3,800 acres of federal land to FAMU.

Robinson and Vilsack made the deal official with a Memorandum of Understanding on March 1, 2014. FAMU is set to receive the property from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by September 30, 2015.

The land is located in Brooksville, Fla. and was formerly used as a research station that focused on beef cattle. That research station closed in 2012.

According to a FAMU press release from last week, “this transfer will be one of the single largest to a historically Black college or university in history.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

2007: FAMU trustees rebuff Castell’s decision to support shift of COE fiscal agent duties to FSU

Back in 2007, the FAMU Board of Trustees took action after the interim president chose to go along with a change that was inconsistent with a university policy.

FAMU’s policy for the past 28 years has been that it wants to serve as the fiscal agent/budget manager of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). That was established by a 1987 agreement between FAMU and FSU that received the approval of the Board of Regents, which was the policy-making body for both of the universities at the time. The FAMU Board of Trustees adopted that policy when the Florida law made it the new policy-making body for the university in 2001.

But six years later, Interim President Castell V. Bryant said she had no problem with a legislative plan to transfer the COE fiscal agent/budget manager duties from FAMU to FSU. A Tallahassee Democrat article from March 30, 2007 stated that “after discussing it with [FSU President T.K. Wetherell], she said she was fine with the change.”

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

2002: Ken Riley leaves FAMU athletic department with $3M surplus

Twelve years ago, FAMU had one of the best financially-managed athletic departments among all the nation’s historically black colleges and universities.

Ken Riley, who started serving as FAMU’s athletic director in 1994, left the department with an estimated surplus of more than $3M when he stepped down in 2002.

Roosevelt Wilson, who served as FAMU’s athletic director from 1980 to 1985, called attention to the following facts in an editorial he published in his Capital Outlook newspaper. It also ran in the December 8-December 14, 2004 edition of the Miami Times:  

Monday, April 14, 2014

1973: HEW tells Florida to get rid of separate-but-equal in public higher ed or lose $70M

The Florida Capitol building in 1973
Back in 1973, the Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) told the State of Florida that it was still carrying out a separate-but-equal operation in its State University System. Federal officials said that if the state didn’t begin complying in honesty with Congressional laws that mandated the desegregation of higher education, then Florida would lose $70M in federal money.

A St. Petersburg Times article from 1973 reported that: “Florida has until April 8 to submit a plan to replace one rejected Nov. 13 or face the loss of about $70-million in federal funds, mostly research grants.”

If inflation is taken into account, that $70M from 1973 would be about $370M today.

The State of Florida avoided losing those tens of millions of federal dollars by entering into a desegregation consent decree with the HEW Civil Rights Office. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2002: Bill Jennings succeeds in denying FAMU a Melvin Stith presidency

Last spring, Melvin T. Stith retired from the deanship of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Throughout his nine years in that position, he brought in millions in new private donations and grant dollars.

Stith’s huge success as a fundraiser and grant-raiser at Syracuse was no surprise. Prior to becoming Whitman’s dean in 2005, he led the Florida State University (FSU) College of Business for 13 years. According to the Central New York Business Journal, “During his tenure [at FSU], Stith increased the school's endowment from $8 million to $55 million, expanded the number of endowed chairs to nine, built an all-wireless 12,000-square-foot technology center, made the school a leader in graduating minority doctoral candidates, and guided a $79.5 million fundraising campaign for the business school.”

FAMU had a chance to hire Stith as its ninth president in 2002. A proud alumnus of Norfolk State University, Stith wanted to lead the nation’s largest single campus historically black university. During his campus interviews, he talked about his desire to use his connections in Wall Street to help expand the FAMU endowment. He also wanted to build more research programs at the university.

But Bill Jennings, chairman of the Board of Trustees presidential search committee, and the board members who thought like him led the charge to deny FAMU a Melvin Stith presidency.