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

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.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Badger must avoid same mistake Art Collins made during 2001 presidential search


Back in 2001, Art Collins defied Gov. Jeb Bush by winning the first FAMU trustees chairmanship race despite being pressured to let R.B. Holmes have the position. Collins seemed to think his election victory meant it would be easy for him to build enough support to seat a highly-qualified successor to President Frederick S. Humphries. But he underestimated R.B.’s desire for revenge.

On the night before the final vote in the selection process, the majority of trustees still supported Collins. There were more than enough votes for Charlie Nelms, the only candidate who had been the top executive of two universities, to become the ninth president of FAMU. Nelms had served as chancellor of Indiana University East and the University of Michigan at Flint before being selected to serve as vice-president for student development and diversity for the entire Indiana University system.

But the 11th hour shadiness that is still typical of FAMU Board of Trustees processes turned the presidential search into a train wreck. A lie that claimed there weren’t enough votes to seat Nelms was spread throughout that evening. By the end of the shenanigans on that night, Nelms had withdrawn his application.

When the board met for the presidential vote the next morning, the anti-Collins trustees smiled and laughed when the chairman had to announce that Nelms was out-of-the-running. A group of trustees that included R.B., Castell Bryant, and Jim Corbin then worked to fast track the selection of Fred Gainous to run FAMU.

Monday, January 21, 2013

2009: Marching 100 performs at Obama’s inauguration

The students in the suspending Marching 100 would be performing in Washington, DC today if it hadn’t been for the selfishness of the “Crossing Bus C” hazing participants.

Back in 2009, the FAMU band high-stepped at the inauguration of the country’s first African-American president. U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama smiled big and waved as the 100 treated them to the sounds of Kool & The Gang, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder.

The FAMU band had the distinction of being selected out of more than 400 applicants for the Inaugural Parade. But there was never any doubt that the Marching 100 had what it took to make the short list. When the 100 played at an April 15, 2007 campaign rally for Obama in Ybor City, Fla., he told the students: “This is the best introduction I have ever had.”

The Marching 100's performance at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

FAMU has had 6 presidencies in nearly 11 years

Last week, FAMU celebrated its 125th anniversary with a Founders Day address by former President Frederick S. Humphries. Humphries was in charge of FAMU for 16 years. But since his retirement, there have been six presidencies in almost 11 years.

The individuals who have served as FAMU’s president on a permanent or interim basis since Humphries’ retirement have been: Henry Lewis (January 2002-June 2002); Fred Gainous (July 2002-December 2004); Castell Bryant (January 2005-May 2007); Larry Robinson (May 2007-June 2007); James H. Ammons (July 2007-July 2012); and Larry Robinson (July 2012-present).

Ever since Humphries left, there have been two individuals who’ve served as the biggest sources of consistency at the university. They are Larry Robinson and Bill Jennings.

Robinson has been a champion for the faculty members who have led the fight to keep FAMU’s doors open over the last decade. The longest-serving trustee, Jennings, has been an ally of those who have brought constant harm to the university since 2001 and kept FAMU from having any form of stability in Lee Hall.

Jennings made sure to jump up in front of the news cameras and shake Robinson’s hand when the Board of Trustees confirmed his appointment as interim president on August 15th. But the two men have not have had a smooth relationship over the past 10 years because Robinson has refused to be an unquestioning yes-man for the Florida governor’s office like Jennings is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

2002: Gary describes how D’Alemberte administration failed to protect Darling

Back in 2001, 18-year old Florida State University (FSU) football player Devaughn Darling died while trying to finish a workout session conducted by the school. His parents hired Attorney Willie Gary to represent them in their civil case against the university, which was then led by President Sandy D’Alemberte.

The lawsuit Gary filed on behalf of the Darling family stated that even though FSU coaches knew about the young man’s “exhaustion and difficulty standing, they forced him to continue” a set of physical conditioning drills. It added that “prior to being sent back to start the mat drills over again, Devaughn Darling was holding his chest, complaining of pain and stated he could not see.”

A St. Petersburg Times article listed the major points in Gary’s description of how the FSU administration failed to protect Darling. He said FSU declined to fulfill its duty to operate a “reasonably safe” conditioning program by:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2001: Colson protects Shalala after Meredith hazing death

Florida Board of Governors (BOG) Chairman Dean Colson has used the hazing death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion as a reason to question the leadership of FAMU President James H. Ammons.

“The safety of students enrolled and the experience they deserve are directly challenged by events during the past year,” Colson wrote in a recent letter about FAMU.

Colson’s take-no-prisoners stance against Ammons is the complete opposite of the stance he took when a student at his alma mater, the University of Miami (UM), died on the watch of President Donna Shalala.

Shalala, the current UM president, took office on June 1, 2001. On Nov. 4 of that year, 18-year old UM student Chad Meredith died from drowning during a hazing ritual led by the campus’ Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

Colson was a member of the UM Board of Trustees at the time. Shalala didn’t take drastic steps to eliminate hazing on UM’s campus before Meredith’s death (such as suspending all Greek organizations). But Colson still opted to protect her. He continued to be one of her biggest cheerleaders during his tenure as board chairman from 2004 to 2007.

Monday, June 11, 2012

1997: UF president calls Herbert an Oreo

Back during a Christmas party he hosted on Dec. 16, 1997, University of Florida (UF) President John V. Lombardi called University of North Florida President Adam Herbert an “Oreo.”

When one guest asked him what the Nabisco cookie reference meant, Lombardi said he’d used the term to describe how Herbert, then an applicant for the chancellorship of the State University System of Florida (SUS), was “black on the outside and white on the inside.”

Lombardi actually used the “Oreo” term as a compliment. He said Herbert was a potential chancellor who would be able to work with whites in a very effective manner.

Herbert, who did become chancellor, recommended that Lombardi keep his job despite the remark. He then turned his attention to his Three Tier Plan proposal. The chancellor wanted FAMU to be a bottom tier “comprehensive” university that would focus mainly on teaching undergraduate students. FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries and then Provost James H. Ammons led the fight to create a special “Comprehensive/Doctoral” category that permitted the university to continue pursuing its Ph.D. expansion ambitions.

Today, Herbert’s name continues to circulate as a possible replacement for Ammons, FAMU’s current president. The argument being used by those interested in Herbert seems to focus on Ammons’ unpopularity with the Florida Board of Governors (BOG). It is being said that FAMU needs a president who can get along with them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Jennings aiding attack on Ammons like he aided attack on Humphries


If you ever want to know where Bill Jennings stands on a FAMU issue, the best place to ask is the Florida Governor’s Office. In his nearly 12 years on the FAMU Board of Trustees Jennings has always done exactly what the incumbent governor wanted him to do without regard for how it might harm his own alma mater.

Back in 2001, Jennings was the top sidekick of Jeb Bush crony Jim Corbin as he attacked former President Frederick S. Humphries. In 2012, Jennings is now working side-by-side with Rick Scott crony Rufus Montgomery to fulfill the governor’s goal of seating a new FAMU president who is more to his liking.

Humphries was appointed president in 1985 during the governorship of Democrat Bob Graham. He became a rising star in the Democratic Party during the two terms of Gov. Lawton Chiles. The Clinton White House loved Humphries. In July 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton asked Humphries to run for Florida education commissioner (which was still an elected position at that time), but Humphries respectfully declined.