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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WFSU: Mangum administration hired man convicted of federal felony to $75,000 job

An investigative report published by WFSU, the PBS/NPR for North Florida and Southern Georgia, states that FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s administration hired an individual who was convicted of a federal felony to a job that pays him $75,000 per year.

According to WFSU: “Earlier this year Mangum hired Santoras D. Gamble in FAMU’s office of Communications. What raised eyebrows among FAMU faculty, staff and administrators, is Gamble’s background. He’s paid $75,000 a year. Gamble was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony. He was ordered to pay more than $122,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Education and Auburn University, where the crime took place. He also shows up the U.S. Department of Education’s annual fraud report to congress in 2012.”  

Friday, August 21, 2015

SACS: Removing FAMU chairman mainly because of lawmakers’ request would raise red flag

Yesterday, FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery rebuffed a group of state lawmakers who made a public request that he either resign or be voted out of his leadership position. He hinted that those legislators might hurt FAMU’s ability to abide by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Standard 3.2.4, which says university boards must stay free from political interference.

“For the good of the institution and to prevent charges of undue political interference, I hope that our elected officials will allow our Board to do the job we were appointed to do,” he said.

WCTV-6 contacted the SACS headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. and asked it about the issue. The television station reported that: “A representative with SACS says if the FAMU Board of Trustees remove Montgomery as chair solely or largely because the legislators asked them to -- that would raise concerns. SACS is not looking into the matter at this time, but, FAMU could get a warning, probation, or lose accreditation.”

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rattlers owe debt of gratitude to HBCU Digest, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

FAMUans near and far owe lots of gratitude to HBCU Digest and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Their coverage of the recent changes at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) helped take this important news issue from the blogosphere to a number of major media outlets in the state of Florida.

The FAMU Board of Trustees has finally scheduled a face-to-face discussion with President Elmira Mangum to talk about what happened at the May 20 meeting of the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council of the COE. That will take place on Tuesday.

Below are links to some of the articles that have been written on this topic over the past weeks:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Florida Times-Union to take in-depth look at FAMU leadership controversies

The Monday edition of the Florida Times-Union will take an in-depth look at the rough relationship between the FAMU Board of Trustees and its president of nearly 15 months, Elmira Mangum. Reporter Tia Mitchell, a FAMU alumna, said the writing process for the upcoming article was a trying experience.

From “Loving FAMU means telling the truth about its issues” (Friday, July 10, 2015):

On Monday’s front page, there will be an article I wrote about the drama surrounding Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum just a little over a year into her tenure.

She has made mistakes, but her position is worsened by a terrible relationship with members of the board of trustees and especially its chairman, Rufus Montgomery.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Decision to shift COE fiscal agent duties to FSU made in May without approval of FAMU board

Update (July 10, 2015): Yesterday, the FAMU administration sent WCTV-6 a statement that addressed the recent changes in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). That statement was later posted on

It stated that the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council passed a resolution on May 20, 2015 to shift the COE fiscal agent duties from FAMU to FSU. The FAMU Board of Trustees has not taken a vote to approve any changes to the current university policy stating that FAMU wants to serve as the fiscal agent/budget manager of the College of Engineering.

FAMU Board Chairman Rufus Montgomery told WCTV-6 on July 8 that “a conversation about the College of Engineering and other issues will be taken up by the board later this month as part of a broader discussion of governance at FAMU.”

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Rattlers express shock, disappointment about FAMU engineering crisis on Twitter

The article “Florida State Takes Hold of FAMU Engineering Purse Strings,” which was published on the website of Diverse Issues in Higher Education on Monday, has moved quickly through the Twitterverse. Numerous FAMUans on Twitter are expressing shock and disappointment about the crisis that has now made FAMU a part of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering in name only.

As of the time of this blog posting, the most re-tweeted comment on the topic comes from the official page of FAMU alumna Anika Noni Rose.

“Fla State has been attempting to manhandle FAMU’s engineering program for YRS. Appears it’s finally happened. Shame,” Rose wrote in the tweet sent July 7.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mangum defends FAMU’s diversity and Academic Opportunity Success students

In the Sunday edition of the Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU President Elmira Mangum defended the university’s diversity and Academy Opportunity Success students from criticism she received from members of the Florida Board of Governors.

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, October 03, 2014

Steve Harvey records special promo for FAMU’s presidential inauguration

Steve Harvey, host of the “Steve Harvey” daily talk show produced by NBCUniversal, recorded a special promotional spot for the inauguration of new FAMU President Elmira Mangum.

While speaking about college, Harvey could not resist also giving a special recognition to his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mangum skeptical of claims that hazing news led to FAMU’s enrollment decline

At her recent meeting with the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, FAMU President Elmira Mangum expressed skepticism in response to a suggestion that a 2011 hazing death led to the university’s enrollment decline. She said that the federal financial aid crisis and economic downturn are the biggest reasons that FAMU has fewer students.

The following comes from her interview with the editorial board:

Q: Has the university recovered after the hazing scandal, as it relates to rebounding enrollment numbers?

A: I believe that we have recovered from that, if that is the reason students chose not to come to FAMU, and I'm not really convinced that's the reason why enrollment declined...Much of it had to deal with the availability of financial aid, the economic downturn and people not being able to afford an education....I think many institutions would be challenged if that [hazing] were the reason why students chose not to come, because hazing is a problem in America — and it's a problem on most campuses. The fact that FAMU was highlighted was grave and disappointing, but it's a part of our culture at every college and institution. We do our best to make sure we have a safe environment for our students, and FAMU has done an awful lot, probably more than most colleges.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mangum spars with Orlando Sentinel editorial board over FAMU’s access and opportunity scholars

FAMU President Elmira Mangum held her own like a boxing champ in a recent meeting with the Orlando Sentinel editorial board.

The following excerpt from Mangum’s interview comes from an Orlando Sentinel story that ran today (September 16, 2014). Rattler Nation has inserted some of the comments that the Orlando Sentinel edited out in bold. The full interview is available on the Orlando Sentinel’s YouTube channel.

Q: In 2012, the Sentinel found thousands of students enter FAMU despite being ill-equipped for college rigor. How are you addressing this?

A: [As] part of the response to the declining enrollment and the economic changes, the university admitted additional students who did not meet the initial criteria that we had established for admission as an opportunity; we call them access and opportunity scholars. I know in Florida, some people call them profile admits. That’s not friendly to me. So I like to call them access and opportunity [scholars]. What we are doing is taking a bet on students who may or may not meet certain criteria with regard to admission and taking a bet that they will succeed. What we’re doing different now is providing the support for those students in our learning environment by creating additional counseling sessions and having the assessment tools available to determine if they would be successful in certain courses. So we are basically increasing our learning support and retention activities through advising, “intrusive advising” as we say, where if faculty members find a student in their class who’s not quite prepared for a course they refer them to the advising center or the counseling or study center to get the support they need.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Editorial: 10 for $10 Challenge a model for university giving

Cecka Rose Green celebrating the FAMU football coaching staff's 10 for $10 donations
Yesterday, the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board applauded FAMU alumna Cecka Rose Green’s innovative 10 for $10 Challenge. The fundraising drive has raised $77,225 for the FAMU Foundation.

From the editorial: “In for 10 (dollars)”:

Most people believe that one of the hardest things to do is to ask others for money to help support a particular cause.

Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum should be glad that perception didn’t deter Cecka Rose Green.

Instead, Ms. Green, who graduated from FAMU in 1991, initiated a campaign drive last month for her university with a simple challenge: “10 for $10.” The goal is to get one person to donate $10 and then challenge 10 others to do the same.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tampa Bay Times editorial board rips Thrasher’s attack on FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board joined the Tallahassee Democrat’s in blasting state Sen. John Thrasher’s attack on the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

From the editorial “Another higher ed power play”:

Florida taxpayers already are paying for one engineering school in Tallahassee, and they should not have to pay for two. A sudden plan to dismantle the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and create separate schools is a power play by an influential state senator and Florida State University alumnus to hand FSU its own engineering school. This is another example of the Legislature letting raw politics rather than sound policy rule higher education.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, an FSU alumnus and a potential candidate for the university's presidency, set aside $13 million in the Senate budget to begin the process of dismantling the engineering college and creating separate colleges for each university.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Gabordi: Thrasher needs to stop singing the old separate-but-equal song

Tallahassee Democrat Executive Editor Bob Gabordi had some sharp words for state Sen. John Thrasher, who is attempting to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Thrasher’s proposal, which doesn’t include any money to help FAMU secure enough faculty members to run an independent engineering school, could destroy FAMU’s engineering programs.

From Gabordi’s blog:

Separate, but equal: We’ve heard that song before.

Now we’re hearing that same old refrain from St. Augustine Republican Sen. John Thrasher, who is pushing to separate the combined Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering that has existed for more than three decades.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Tallahassee Democrat editorial: “Attack on engineering school stinks”

From the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board on Friday, April 4:

On Wednesday evening, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, offered a surprise amendment to the state’s budget that would let Florida State University end its 30-year involvement with FAMU in their joint College of Engineering and start to plan for its own engineering school.

On Thursday, senators approved the amendment by a voice vote. And Florida A&M alumni and supporters had the same sick feeling they experienced in the mid-1960s, when the state took away the university’s law school in favor of FSU’s.

The timing and the process of this latest move stink.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tallahassee Democrat editorial: Robinson should be FAMU’s 11th president

On Sunday, the Tallahassee Democrat’s editorial board urged the FAMU Board of Trustees to change Larry Robinson’s title from interim president to permanent president.

Even though the editorial board said that board members should pass “a motion allowing Dr. Robinson to apply for the position,” such a motion isn’t necessary. The board’s own records show that FAMU trustees never voted to restrict Robinson from being appointed to serve as the university’s 11th president.

From the editorial: “Robinson should be FAMU's next president”

Florida A&M University’s board of trustees has set an ambitious goal of naming the university’s 11th president by Jan. 9, the same week that classes begin for the spring semester.

It is hard to believe that the search will uncover a more qualified candidate than Larry Robinson who has served as interim president at FAMU for the past 18 months.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

1967 Orange Blossom Classic featured as cover story in American Airlines Magazine

The historic 1967 Orange Blossom Classic between FAMU and Grambling University is the cover story of the November 15 issue of American Airlines’ publication, American Way.

Written by Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times columnist and author of the book Breaking the Line, the article describes how two rival football teams, with two star quarterbacks under the leadership of two legendary coaches revolutionized college sports and transformed the NFL. FAMU coach Jake Gaither with quarterback Ken Riley, along with Grambling’s Eddie Robinson and James Harris made a profound difference in how America finally came to appreciate the talent of black athletes.  For a 30-year period, the Orange Blossom Classic football game in Miami was the most important annual sporting event and the largest annual gathering of any kind for African Americans.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

BOG’s poor audit results prove it lacks competence to assess FAMU’s audit division

BOG Vice-Chairman Morteza Hosseini (center)
BOG Chairman Dean Colson (left)
Yesterday, the Tallahassee Democrat published an article about the Florida Board of Governor’s praise for a corrective action plan submitted by FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson. The document responded to a 2012 review by former BOG Inspector General Derry Harper. Harper directed heavy criticism against FAMU’s Division of Audit and Compliance (DAC).

The article stated: “The tenor of Thursday’s meeting was markedly different from June 2012, when James H. Ammons was FAMU president and Robinson served as provost. At that meeting, FAMU’s annual work plan was essentially deemed unacceptable by BOG members.”

But once again, the Tallahassee Democrat declined to inform its readers about a 2013 state audit that essentially found the state of the BOG inspector general’s office to be unacceptable.

David W. Martin, the Florida auditor general, scolded the BOG for “noncompliance with statutory requirements” in a quality assessment review of its inspector general’s office. He declared the office to be out-of-compliance with Florida law for its failure to issue any audit reports for more than four years. Another serious finding blasted the BOG for failing to provide verification that Harper had the educational qualifications required by Florida law.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Florida reporters continue to give BOG a pass on accountability

Note: This story is part three of the Rattler Nation special report on “The Implosion of Brogan’s IG Office.”

Back when Derry Harper, former inspector general for the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), released a report that criticized FAMU for permitting ineligible students to march with its band, reporters across the state jumped to put it in the news.

Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout typed up a story that ran with the headline: “Hazing rules ignored before death at FAMU.” The Orlando Sentinel wrote “State report blasts FAMU’s effort to fight hazing before Champion’s death.” The Tallahassee Democrat published an article that said “BOG report is critical of FAMU.”

But Fineout, the Sentinel, and the Democrat haven’t made a peep about the Florida auditor general’s finding that the BOG failed to verify that Harper had the legally required eligibility qualifications for his own job.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Orlando Sentinel changes top newsroom editor and opinions editor

Avido Khahaifa
FAMU J-School alumnus appointed to lead newsroom

The Orlando Sentinel, which has an editorial board that recently demanded an overhaul of FAMU’s senior administration, has undergone a sweeping set of leadership changes of its own.

On August 7, Orlando Sentinel Publisher Howard Greenberg announced that the newspaper had parted ways with its top newsroom editor, Mark Russell. Russell, a University of Missouri graduate, managed the paper’s day-to-day affairs for three years.

Greenberg transferred Russell’s former duties to Avido Khahaifa, senior vice president and director of content. Khahaifa is an alumnus of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (formerly Journalism, Media, & Graphic Arts). The former FAMUan editor received the Thelma Thurston Gorham Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

The Orlando Sentinel also made a major shake-up to its editorial board. Mike Lafferty, an alumnus of the University of Central Florida, is out as the opinions editor. The newspaper reassigned him to another editing job.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tallahassee Democrat, Orlando Sentinel express confidence in Sylvester Young

Last week, two Florida editorial boards gave strong votes of confidence to Sylvester Young, FAMU’s new director of bands. They applauded Interim President Larry Robinson for selecting an experienced music professor and a tough disciplinarian to rebuild the Marching 100.

“Dr. Robinson deserves credit for taking charge of the situation and taking the appropriate steps to hire additional staff to help oversee band operations,” the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board wrote. “By hiring Mr. Young he is bringing in a seasoned, no-nonsense musician and band director who has experienced a successful career in directing and managing marching bands.”

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board also praised Young’s return to The Hill.

“Hiring Sylvester Young as the new band director is another plus,” the Sentinel editorial board wrote. “He’s a FAMU alumnus and former Marching 100 trombone player. He’s a strong leader who’s led bands at two other historically black universities. He understands the culture of hazing and his vital role in putting an end to it.”