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

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.

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.