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

Monday, November 16, 2015

News stories about FAMU officials linked to financial scandals far from over

A number of officials at Florida A&M University, and some individuals who have recently left their leadership posts at the school, have been at the center of public controversies over the past several years after being linked to financial scandals. The news coverage that is following a few of them appears to be far from finished.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Givens reported “potential interference” with his work to BOT following email from Cassidy

Back 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.”

POLITICO Florida obtained the series of emails that ended with that statement by Givens.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

WTXL ABC 27 calls Mangum’s restrictions on media access and questions “unacceptable”

On Thursday, FAMU President Elmira Mangum made headlines by refusing to take tough questions from reporters, again. Mangum chose to leave out a back door during a press conference that she called and ignored media representatives who asked her for answers about issues related to her administration.

Yesterday, Mangum set aside 45 minutes to take questions from reporters in an invite-only event in the Lee Hall President’s Suite. A FAMU letter to selected press representatives stated that: “The allotted time of 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. will serve as an intimate on-the-record conversation with President Mangum.”

Stephen Jiwanmall, a reporter for WTXL-27 ABC of Tallahassee, said that: “WTXL was invited to participate but declined to attend, because the university put restrictions on the interview that the station, as a news organization, did not think were fair. No photography or videography was allowed during the meeting. Officials restricted which members of the media could attend, and the invited reporters were allowed to ask one question during the roundtable -- more, if time permitted.”

Vasilinda reports on invite-only media event with Mangum where video was banned

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mangum makes headlines for dodging tough questions from reporters, again

FAMU President Elmira Mangum dashes out a back door after a press conference (Tallahassee Democrat)
The president of FAMU made headlines this week for choosing to dodge tough questions from reporters, again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Orlando Sentinel editorial board doubles down after hitting new low in 2012

Orlando Sentinel editorial board members Darryl E. Owens and Paul Owens
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board has doubled down on its decision to respond to FAMU’s alleged insensitivity to victims of voluntary hazing by being insensitive to rape victims. 

Back in 2012, FAMU filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of deceased drum major Robert Champion. The motion pointed out that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigation concluded that their son “willingly participated” in the illegal hazing ritual that took his life in Orlando on Nov. 19, 2011. FAMU argued that Florida taxpayers shouldn’t be held legally liable for a 26-year old adult’s decision to break rules that were in place to protect him.

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board criticized FAMU with the statement: “Rather than working contritely with the family on a resolution, FAMU borrowed a page from the rape defense playbook and blamed the victim.” It doubled down on that statement in a Sept. 24, 2015 editorial entitled: “Hazing lessons must guide FAMU.”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Miller defends Dee Gamble’s hiring as story hits Associated Press national wire

The news story on the hiring of Santoras "Dee" Gamble at FAMU has moved from WFSU to the Associated Press national wire.

Back on August 25, WFSU reported that the FAMU Office of Communications had hired Gamble to a job that pays him $75,000 per year. According to WFSU, “Gamble was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony.”

The United States v. Santoras D. Gamble “Amended Judgment in a Criminal Case” document that is linked to WFSU’s story states that Gamble pleaded guilty and received a sentence of three years’ probation for the offense.

Monday, September 21, 2015

FAMU journalism professor takes Mangum to task for “bullying” student newspaper

On Friday, a member of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication faculty took President Elmira Mangum to task for “bullying” the campus student newspaper.

Valerie D. White, an associate professor of journalism, wrote a stinging opinion column in response to Mangum’s “Open Letter to the Editor of The Famuan” that was posted on the University's revamped news blog on September 10. Mangum wrote the open letter after The FAMUan Editor-in-Chief Reggie Mizell wrote a September 3 opinion column that criticized her for excluding student editors from the planning process for a new “official newspaper” at the university. The editor-in-chief of Journey Magazine, TyLisa Johnson, was a contributor to the opinion piece.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mangum writes open letter to The FAMUan to address student editors’ concerns posted the following open letter to The FAMUan by President Elmira Mangum on September 10th:

It is with compassion, and a sincere desire to ensure that I address recent concerns expressed by our student journalists, that I write this letter.

The opinion column by Reggie Mizell that was published in The Famuan on Sept. 3, 2015 has led to the misperception that my Administration is creating a “new” newspaper that is designed to replace the student-run paper as the voice of our student body.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

FAMU administration says its news site won’t “replace or hinder” FAMUan

According to HBCU Digest, the FAMU administration says a new publication that it is about to launch won’t “replace or hinder” The FAMUan newspaper run by campus students.

On Thursday, an opinion piece in The FAMUan criticized President Elmira Mangum for excluding student editors from the planning process for a new “official newspaper” at the university. FAMUan Editor-in-Chief Reggie Mizell authored the column with the support of Journey Magazine Editor-in-Chief TyLisa Johnson, who served as a contributor.

Mizell said Mangum told a group of student editors about the new publication after the Thursday, August 27 Legacy Banquet that honored all the living FAMU presidents. He said the president told them that:  “It won't be the FAMUAN. It’ll be a real newspaper, like the Wall Street Journal.”

Friday, September 04, 2015

Student editors say Mangum excluded them from planning process for FAMU’s new “official newspaper”

Journey Magazine Editor-in-Chief TyLisa Johnson with
President Elmira Mangum at the Legacy Banquet
Yesterday, FAMUan Editor-in-Chief Reggie Mizell criticized FAMU President Elmira Mangum for excluding student editors from the planning process for a new “official newspaper” at the university.

Mizell expressed his disappointment in a column that appeared on the student newspaper’s website. The editor-in-chief of Journey Magazine, TyLisa Johnson, was a contributor to the opinion piece.

According to Mizell, Mangum told a group of student editors about the new publication after the Thursday, August 27 Legacy Banquet that honored all the living FAMU presidents. He said the president told them that:  “It won't be the FAMUAN. It’ll be a real newspaper, like the Wall Street Journal.”

Mizell did not appear to appreciate that reported comment by the president.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

FAMU hurt by officials who disrespect reporters, lack basic media relations skills

The way FAMU alumna Tia Mitchell was treated at the Thursday, August 27 press conferences for the FAMU Legacy Banquet was a reminder of how much the university is being hurt by officials who lack basic media relations skills.

Mitchell, a Florida Times-Union reporter and graduate of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, went to Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in order to participate in the media availability that morning. The press conference was held at that location because the Legacy Banquet was an event that was jointly planned by Bethel Empowerment Foundation that is based in that church and the FAMU Foundation. The purpose of the banquet was to honor all the living FAMU presidents and raise money for the FAMU athletic department. Attendees at the press conference included FAMU President Elmira Mangum, Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Rufus Montgomery, and former Trustee R.B. Holmes (the pastor of the church).

According to a statement that Mitchell posted on her Twitter page, a public relations official intervened when she tried to ask questions and told her it wasn’t the right press conference for that.

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.