Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Friday, June 01, 2018

Orlando Sentinel story inaccurately reports FAMU’s 2015 settlement with Champion family

A May 31, 2018 news report by the Orlando Sentinel inaccurately stated the amount of the settlement between Florida A&M University and the family of deceased hazing victim Robert Champion.

The story by Orlando Sentinel reporter Hal Boedeker says that “In 2016, the university agreed to a $1.1 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Champion’s family.”

That isn’t correct. The settlement was reached in 2015, not 2016. FAMU also agreed to pay $300,000, not $1.1 million. The money was paid by the Florida Department of Financial Services.

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 may pay as part of a legal proceeding. Higher amounts must come from a claims bill passed by Florida Legislature.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Toldson: AJC published b.s. ("bad stats") article on HBCU graduation rates

Ivory A. Toldson, former director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and a member of the Howard University faculty, recently took an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article to task for its use of b.s. (“bad stats”) to describe HBCU graduation rates.

From the essay “Low Graduation Rates Aren’t an HBCU Thing” published by The Root:

A black woman with a teenage son told me that several people had sent her the recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about black colleges “struggling” with low graduation rates to warn her against sending her son to an HBCU. The article’s headline stated that the six-year graduation rates at “many” HBCUs are lower than 20 percent.

With no mention of the total number of HBCUs anywhere in the article, the reader must infer what “many” means. In total, 101 HBCUs currently qualify for federal support; therefore, the AJC’s definition of “many” is just shy of 20 percent. In addition, according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 602 non-HBCU institutions of higher education, including predominantly white institutions, have graduation rates of 20 percent or less. This represents just shy of 20 percent of all institutions of higher education with data available for analysis. So if 20 percent means “many” to the AJC, the article should have been titled, “6-Year Graduation Rates at Many Colleges and Universities Lower Than 20 Percent,” and “HBCU” removed from the center of the story.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

FAMU, WFSU, Firelight partner to premiere PBS Film “Tell Them We Are Rising”

On January 26, 2018, Florida A&M University (FAMU) will partner with WFSU Public Media and Firelight Films to present a public screening of “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” the latest film from Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director Stanley Nelson. The screening is part of a national HBCU Tour and a collaboration between public media stations and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The screening will be held at 7 p.m., in FAMU’s Lee Hall Auditorium and will be followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the creative team, University leaders, prominent alumni, and other invited guests to talk about the important issues explored in the documentary.

As a leading HBCU, FAMU’s students, faculty, and leaders play a prominent role in the film, showcasing the valuable impact of the University.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Financial struggles hampered Brillante’s FNC and its partnership with Black Family Channel

L-R: Bob Brillante, J.C. Watts, and Steve Southerland at FAMU SJGC
If you want to see where the headquarters of the now-defunct Florida’s News Channel (FNC) were located, just head over to the current WCTV-6 studios off Capital Circle Northeast in Tallahassee. Gray Television Inc., WCTV-6’s parent company, got a good deal on that facility and its equipment after FNC folded.

Gray Television President Bob Prather talked about the purchase during a conference on the company’s fourth-quarter 2005 earnings.

“We spent a little more in '05 than we planned, for a couple of reasons,” Prather said. “One, we had a chance to buy a new building down in Tallahassee, an existing facility. A Florida news channel went out of business, and we picked up a fantastic facility probably at 50% of its true market value. It was a fully-equipped TV facility for operating the Florida News Channel, which we basically got the equipment for nothing; it was probably $3 million worth of equipment in the facility.”

Thursday, June 08, 2017

FAMU NAA president helps to inspire HBCU Giving Campaign created by Roland Martin

Roland S. Martin, host and managing editor of TV One’s News One Now, has created the fundraising initiative, #HBCUGivingDay, a national call to action in support of raising funds for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). For the past week, Martin has represented a different historically Black college and university by wearing a lapel pin and then posting the photo on social media using the hashtag, #HBCUGivingDay.

On May 25, Martin interviewed Lt. Col. Gregory L. Clark, president of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association , about the importance of donating money to support scholarships and research at institutions geared toward the education of minorities and first generation students. Around 70 percent of all HBCU students rely on federal grants and work study programs to finance their education.

“We have an obligation to give. HBCU’s take us in, give us an education and send us out into the world,” said Clark, who reported that the association is working to increase FAMU’s 5 percent alumni giving rate. “The giving rates have got to be up…that’s going to help us drive in those corporate dollars and it’s going to show the corporations that we do care about our institutions.”

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

HBCU Digest: Gasman tough on majority black BOTs at HBCUs, but not white system leaders

HBCU Digest recently took University of Pennsylvania Professor Marybeth Gasman to task for being quick to criticize problems that predominantly black boards of trustees create at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), but mainly ignoring the harm that white leaders of state university systems cause at HBCUs.

Gasman is the director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

From HBCU Digest:

Dozens of HBCU presidents over the last few years have been fired, but only a handful of them of earned the defense of University of Pennsylvania professor Marybeth Gasman in the pages of national news. Today, outgoing Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson became the latest to earn the Ivy League endorsement…

She did something similar for former Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum last September, accusing its board of sexism and interference…

Monday, February 13, 2017

Florida Times-Union: “FAMU leadership is back on track”

On Friday, the Florida Times-Union wrote another editorial that lauded Florida A&M University's continuing progress under its new administrative and Board of Trustees leadership.

Back in December 2016, the Times-Union ran an editorial entitled ““FAMU seems to be getting back on track.”

From the February 9, 2017 editorial “FAMU leadership is back on track”:

Florida A&M University is on the move. There is new leadership with a respected interim president.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Florida Times-Union: Robinson’s appointment a strong choice to move FAMU in right direction

Yesterday, the Florida Times-Union editorial board said that the appointment of Larry Robinson as interim president at Florida A&M University is a positive step toward moving the school in the right direction.

From “FAMU seems to be getting back on track”:

…In the aftermath of [former President Elmira Magnum’s] negotiated departure from the school, there is a fresh opportunity for FAMU to unify as an academic family.

And the university must seize and capitalize on the moment.

There are good signs that is happening. The university has named Larry Robinson, a renowned chemist and longtime FAMU professor, as its interim president.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Florida Times-Union endorses Lawson for U.S. House general election

The editorial board of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville has endorsed FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson in the general election race for the Fifth Congressional District of Florida (CD5) seat. Lawson previously received the Time-Union’s endorsement for the Democratic primary, which he won against incumbent U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on August 30.

Lawson will face Republican nominee Glo Smith in the general election on November 8.

From the Times-Union:

Raised in a small town in Gadsden County, Lawson is a black Democrat who has been repeatedly elected from largely white, rural districts. Yet he also has a strong record on civil rights, education, public safety, jobs, housing and other issues that are high priorities among Jacksonville’s African-American voters.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Vasilinda needs more context for his coverage of FAMU’s enrollment decline

Mike Vasilinda of the Capitol News Service does lots of good reporting of FAMU. That’s why Rattler Nation regularly posts his video news stories here. On Wednesday, this blog posted his wrap-up of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting.

But Vasilinda needs to follow-up his Thursday story on FAMU’s enrollment decline with another one that has the important context that wasn’t included in the first. He also has some mistakes to correct.

Vasilinda wrote that “this fall marks the fifth anniversary of the hazing death of Florida A&M University Drum Major Robert Champion. The University settled the case for $1.1 million and an apology.”

FAMU actually settled with the Champion family for $300,000. That money was paid by the Florida Department of Financial Services. The Champion family settled with the insurer of the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, where hazing ritual took place, for $800,000.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reporter asks FAMU president if BOT showed her the door, Mangum says it looks that way

Gamble, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, received FAMU purchasing card

Dee Gamble, center, with President Elmira Mangum
A Tallahassee Democrat report on the spending records of FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s administration shows that a staffer who had pleaded guilty to a criminal financial-related charge before he was hired received a university purchasing card. That individual is Santoras “Dee” Gamble, who currently works as an assistant to Mangum. 

As part of his probation, the U.S. Government ordered Gamble to terminate or destroy all of his current credit cards, not to obtain any new credit, and undergo credit counseling.

The Democrat article stated that for “May 2016 through July 2016: His total shows $6,700 during the three-month period. Most of the listings are for hotels, electronics, taxi services.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mangum has set tone for her supporters’ lowbrow antics toward reporters

Rattler Nation hasn’t shied away from speaking out against warped news articles and editorials about FAMU since this site started.

Back in 2012, this blog received a big amount of traffic from viewers who came to read the RN criticism of the Orlando Sentinel editorial board. Then-Sentinel opinions editor Mike Lafferty answered with a column that criticized us back.

Click on the “media” tag on this blog and you’ll see RN editorials that also blast things that were published by the Tallahassee Democrat, Associated Press, and St. Pete Times.

The RN blogging team continues to urge alumni who have a problem with what any media organization has said about their alma mater to make a public response in a way that represents a FAMU education. But the alumni who proposed an organized effort of name-calling and cursing at Tallahassee Democrat reporter Byron Dobson didn’t do that. That was an attempt to get support for online bullying.

Monday, April 18, 2016

FAMU alumni journalists defend need for investigative reporting into their alma mater

A number of professional journalists who graduated from Florida A&M University recently spoke out about the need for continued investigative reporting into their alma mater.

Back during the week of March 20-26, Tallahassee Democrat reporter Bryon Dobson covered the controversy over the FAMU Student Government Association elections and complaints from Board of Trustees members about a lack of communication from the administration.

Some FAMU alumni on Facebook reacted with posts that called Dobson names and asked others to also join in their effort to smear him.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

FAMU deletes tweet sent from its official Twitter account to Tallahassee Democrat reporter

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has deleted a tweet that was sent from its official Twitter account to Tallahassee Democrat reporter Byron Dobson on March 26.

Dobson tagged the university’s official Twitter handle, @famu_1887, in a Tweet with a link to a story he had written. The story had the title: “Mangum’s moves trouble trustees, BOG member.” It discussed reactions by members of the FAMU Board of Trustees and a Florida Board of Governors member to recent actions by President Elmira Mangum.

The @famu_1887 Twitter handle tweeted him back with the statement: “@ByronDobson Thanks but no thanks! There is no need to tag us with these dark clouds! Just a reminder that when the dark clouds arise…”

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Controversies over presidential supervision of general counsels shake FGCU, FAMU

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and Florida A&M University (FAMU) are still dealing with the fallout from controversies over the way their general counsels have been supervised.

Back on December 18, Florida Board of Governors Inspector General Joseph K. Maleszewski released a report that covered questions about the contracts FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw gave to Chief of Staff Susan Evans and Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh.

According to the Naples Daily News:

Friday, March 04, 2016

FAMU law professor speaks out against efforts to hide what happens in campus meetings

Yesterday Maritza I. Reyes, an associate professor at the FAMU College of Law, responded to a news story about a FAMU communications official who suggested that the faculty senate exclude reporters from its meetings.

Reyes wrote in an op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat that: “We must question why proponents of holding closed meetings want to hide what state employees say and do in meetings.”

From Reyes’ letter:

“There are plenty of Florida court decisions and Attorney General opinions that hold that advisory committees are subject to Florida’s Sunshine Law. Therefore, before FAMU’s committees, task forces, etc., close their meetings, they should – with the assistance of FAMU’s General Counsel – seek an opinion from the Florida Attorney General about whether a particular committee is subject to the Open Meetings Law. Otherwise, the particular committee could be violating the law. There may be penalties for individual members of committees who attend meetings in violation of the Sunshine Law.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Mangum administration has no one but itself to blame for its amateurish media relations

Instead of owning up to the poor decisions that led it to lose credibility with much of the Tallahassee news corps, the administration of FAMU President Elmira Mangum has chosen to just dig its hole even deeper.

The latest public condemnation of the way the Mangum administration handles media relations came from the Tallahassee Democrat. On Friday, February 26 its editorial board fired back after FAMU Assistant Vice President of Communications Elise Durham suggested that the faculty senate exclude reporters from its meetings.

“For the head of the communications office to suggest cutting off communication is like the campus health clinic telling students they’re not getting enough tar and nicotine,” the editorial board wrote.

It added that: “Her intentions are not bad, just ill-advised -- and probably illegal.”

Friday, February 05, 2016

Mangum rushes from DC to Florida capitol after news story about “snubbing lawmakers”

FAMU President Elmira Mangum has struggled with media relations since 2015. She has also had trouble working with Gov. Rick Scott throughout her entire presidency. Now, she might have burned bridges with a number of GOP lawmakers.

This week, there was a news report that suggested Mangum offended some of the Florida legislators who will soon decide the university’s 2016-2017 budget appropriations.

On Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that Mangum had chosen to skip FAMU Day at the Capitol scheduled for Thursday, February 4 in order to participate in a set of events in Washington, DC. One was the White House National Prayer Breakfast, which U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, had invited her to attend as his guest.

FAMU National Alumni Association President Gregory L. Clark addressed the issue in a post on his Facebook page that was widely circled among FAMUans.

“The date of FAMU Day at the Capitol is set by the university,” Clark wrote.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

BOG dodges WCTV question about how many FAMU alumni applied for BOT vacancies

Mori Hosseini, chair of BOG Nomination and Governance Committee
On Thursday, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) dodged a question from WCTV CBS 6 about how many alumni of Florida A&M University applied for vacant seats on their alma mater’s Board of Trustees (BOT).

“There were 32 applicants for these latest positions for the FAMU Board. The B.O.G. could not say offhand how many were graduates of FAMU,” WCTV-6 reported.