Showing posts with label opinions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opinions. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

FAMU, USF hurt by local lawmakers who didn’t contest proposals that harmed the schools, but helped Thrasher

Back in 2015, Florida A&M University lost control of the then $12.9M FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) budget. This legislative session, a last minute bill change resulted in the University of South Florida to miss out on $10M it expected to receive by finally gaining “preeminent” university status.

Both legislative proposals that led to those harmful effects went uncontested by local lawmakers who represented FAMU and USF. Florida State University President John Thrasher ended up being the big winner in each case.

FAMU controlled millions for the COE from 1987 to 2015. But in 2015, the Florida Legislature shifted the $12.9M COE appropriation from the FAMU general revenue line to a new budget entity. Then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum joined Thrasher in stating that a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council would call the shots on the COE operating budget. That made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to out-vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Florida Gov’s race: Still no promises to help restore alumni majority on FAMU BOT

L-R: Gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, and Adam Putnam
On May 5, U.S. President Donald Trump released a signing statement with H.R. 244 that appeared to question the constitutionality of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program. The statement has raised concerns about whether the administration is committed to supporting continued federal funding for HBCUs.

Florida A&M University, the only public HBCU in the state, has taken a number of attacks over the past six years from Gov. Rick Scott, a big Trump supporter. A recent one happened in 2015 when appointment decisions by Scott and the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) led to FAMU alumni being reduced to a minority on the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT).

FAMU went from having six of the 11 appointed seats on its Board of Trustees filled by alumni in 2015 to now only two. At both the University of Florida and Florida State University, alumni hold the majority of the 11 appointed seats.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Suspicious COL, COE dean changes hurt Mangum’s credibility with many faculty, alumni

At this time last year, the FAMU campus was buzzing with word that then-President Elmira Mangum might be preparing to show four deans the door for reasons that had nothing to do with the university’s best interests.

The names circulating as the possible “targeted” deans were School of Architecture and Engineering Technology Dean Rodner B. Wright, School of Business and Industry Dean Shawnta Friday-Stroud, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean Michael D. Thompson, and School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Dean Ann L. Wead Kimbrough.

There were legitimate reasons to believe that some dean changes were needed. But the bigger question was whether the Mangum administration could be trusted to treat deans fairly.

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…

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NCA&T controls millions at its COE, FAMU lost control of $12.9M at FAMU-FSU COE

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin listens as then-FAMU President Elmira Mangum speaks in 2015
North Carolina A&T University is not only the largest single campus historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation, but its College of Engineering remains the #1 producer of engineering degrees on the undergraduate level awarded to African Americans.

The NCA&T College of Engineering continues to benefit from Chancellor Harold Martin’s decision to make it a central part of his vision for strengthening the university’s presence in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Martin’s work to build his alma mater’s engineering programs goes back to his years of service as chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and later dean of the college.

One big advantage that NCA&T’s engineering college currently has over Florida A&M University’s is that NCA&T controls millions of recurring dollars in legislative appropriations for its program. A study from 2011 estimated that the recurring appropriation for the NCA&T College of Engineering was about $5M per year.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rose a real Rattler who spoke out against FAMU losing budget control at FAMU-FSU engineering

Back when Anika Noni Rose was a theatre student at Florida A&M University, Frederick S. Humphries was her president. She watched while he battled to make sure that the university kept control of the multi-million dollar budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

Humphries struck a deal with Florida State University President Bernie Sliger in 1987 that gave FAMU control of the budget in exchange for an agreement to support Innovation Park as the building site for the COE. The deal was made final by the 1987 “Memorandum of Agreement.”

But FAMU’s control of that budget came to an end in 2015.

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.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Losses continue for alumni ex-lawmakers who ignored attacks on FAMU

Florida A&M University received poor representation from its alumni who served in the Florida Legislature between 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, FAMU lost control of a multi-million dollar college budget after 28 years and saw its alumni become a minority in the 11 appointed university Board of Trustees seats. But the six FAMU alumni who held seats in the legislature at that time simply ignored those attacks against the university.

Four of those individuals are now ex-lawmakers who have taken some big losses since leaving the state capitol.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Student Senate launches apparent attempt to return Smith to president’s chair Bruno won

On Wednesday, Justin Bruno took office as FAMU Student Government Association (SGA) president nearly 11 months after students voted to elect him to that job. The FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) directory was also updated to show that Bruno is a member of that body.

Jaylen Smith is now in the seat he was originally supposed to be in since May, the Student Senate presidency. He served as interim SGA President for about seven months due to a legal battle over the Spring 2016 election results and the failure of SGA officials to move quickly to schedule a new election.

But it now looks like some of Smith’s fellow senators are moving to get him back into the seat that Bruno won.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

FAMU down to four alumni lawmakers in Florida Legislature

Florida A&M University has gone from having six alumni in the Florida Legislature to just four.

The FAMU graduates who will serve during the 2017 session are: Rep. Ramon Alexander (D-Tallahassee), Rep. Kamia L. Brown (D-Ocoee), Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach), and Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park).

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Naples) attended FAMU from 1996 to 1999 but transferred to Florida State University (FSU) to finish his bachelor’s degree.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Brown proudly touted support for Mangum during scandal-plagued, losing reelection bid

Back when Elmira Mangum was struggling to save her presidency between late 2015 and fall 2016, the FAMU alumni state lawmakers who had once been her among her most vocal supporters stopped publicly defending her.

The only FAMU graduate in a high-profile elected office who was willing to proudly stand by Mangum was U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown.

Brown actually seemed to think that her support of Mangum would help her during her scandal-plagued reelection bid in the Fifth Congressional District of Florida. The incumbent representative faced an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination after Alfred “Al” Lawson, a FAMU alumnus, challenged her in the newly redrawn district.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

1998: Huckabee wins 48% of votes by African Americans in Arkansas gubernatorial race

Gov. Mike Huckabee campaigns at a Baptist church in S.C. in 2015
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is currently #1 in the field of potential contenders for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida. A Saint Leo University poll had him at 31.5 percent.

If Huckabee is nominated, he would likely continue to actively seek the support of African American voters like he has done since his political career in Arkansas. Back in 1998, Huckabee won 48 percent of the votes cast by African Americans in his Arkansas gubernatorial general election race against Democrat Bill Bristow.  

Huckabee also made numerous efforts to reach out to African American voters during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015, especially in South Carolina.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gov’s race prospects should be asked if they’ll help FAMU alumni regain majority on BOT

L-R: Andrew Gillum, John Morgan, Gwen Graham, Mike Huckabee, and Adam Putnam
Last year, Florida A&M University alumni became a minority in the 11 appointed university Board of Trustees (BOT) seats. Alumni hold most of the appointed seats on the BOTs at the University of Florida and Florida State University.

The small number of FAMU alumni that the Florida Governor’s Office and Board of Governors (BOG) have chosen to appoint to the FAMU BOT is an insult. It suggests that FAMU doesn’t have as many alumni who are up to the task of leadership as UF and FSU.

FAMU National Alumni Association (NAA) President Gregory L. Clark and past NAA President Tommy Mitchell have spoken out publicly about the problem. But so far Gov. Rick Scott and the BOG haven’t announced any intention to correct it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Levitt: “The Democratic Party must be taught to earn our votes”

Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016
On November 16, 2016, the Orlando Sentinel published an op-ed by Florida A&M University College of Law Professor Jeremy I. Levitt about the results of the recent presidential election.

Levitt is urging African Americans to demand more from the Democratic Party in exchange for their votes.

From the op-ed: “African-Americans should give Donald Trump a chance”:

I’m an ardent critic of Donald J. Trump, but I realize that he will be the 45th president of the United States. He won; get over it. If you don't like him, do something about it: Join the anti-Trump protests around the country, help establish a "third way," or move to Canada. I've lived in Canada, and if "Jacques Frost" doesn't pinch you, Canada's ridiculously high income and sales taxes — together with a cruel currency-exchange rate and nice-nasty culture — may have you running south for the wall-free border.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Meyers had strong enrollment management skills that Mangum lacked

At her last FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, then-President Elmira Mangum defended her enrollment decline that cost the university millions of dollars.

“Quantity does have to be sacrificed in order to get quality,” she told the BOT.

The enrollment trends at public historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like North Carolina A&T University (NCA&T) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) show that the claim Mangum made isn’t true.

NCA&T Chancellor Harold Martin and the late NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White didn’t place quality aside as they expanded enrollment. Both succeeded in reversing the enrollment declines at their schools while also bringing in freshmen classes that had 3.0+ average GPAs.

Carolyn Meyers was another top administrator at a public HBCU who enlarged the quantity of her student body without any negative effect on quality.

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.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Inadequate enrollment went uncorrected while Warren was chair at Profectus, FAMU

Corey Alston and Cleve Warren were two individuals with unimpressive professional records who still managed to get appointed to the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) due to politics. Both were also connected to serious financial controversies involving Florida charter schools.

The Obama Academy for Boys and Red Shoe Charter School for Girls co-founded by Alston closed in 2015 after Broward County Public Schools found big financial accountability problems at the institutions. The Valor Academy of Leadership and Virtue Arts and Science Academy co-founded by Warren will close on December 21 following dire financial problems found by Duval County Public Schools.

Warren is the chairman of the Profectus Learning Systems Board of Directors that runs the two Duval County-based academies, which offer single-gender middle schools and high schools. He admitted that the schools ran into trouble because they didn’t enroll enough students.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

FLBC was more concerned about pursuing big donors than defending FAMU

Tim Ryan, who is challenging Nancy Pelosi for the minority leader position in the U.S. House of Representatives, recently made a spot on comment about a big reason why the Democratic Party did poorly in the 2016 elections.

“The public sees Democrats … as being elite and more concerned with the donor class than we are with them,” Ryan said.

That’s certainly true for the Florida Democratic Party, which has had a lack of leadership for years. The state of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) during the 2014-2016 term reflected that problem.

The FLBC was once one of the most consistent sources of advocacy that Florida A&M University had. But in the 2014-2016 term the group simply ignored a number of attacks against the university.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Persaud battled against interests of FAMU faculty during search for 11th president

Narayan Persaud’s faculty senate presidency was much like Mary Diallo’s. He started out as a strong advocate for FAMU professors but later threw them under the bus as he sought personal power.

Back when she was the FAMU Faculty Senate president in 2004, Diallo voted to hire an interim president who, by all measures of common sense, was not qualified to run a public, four-year university. She threw her support behind Castell V. Bryant, the former president of the Miami-Dade Community College Medical Center Campus.

Diallo seemed to relish being a part of the new interim president’s “inner circle.” But she soon learned the hard way that it was all a sham and that Castell had little respect for her or any other member of the FAMU faculty.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Performance-based funding a problem, but it isn’t “killing” FAMU

Rattler Nation has written for years about why funding in the State University System of Florida (SUS) shouldn’t be tied to six-year graduation rates. FAMU has had a course load cliff for years. Most FAMU students have to take smaller course loads whenever the cost of college increases. Smaller course loads hurt the FAMU six-year graduation rate.

Six-year graduation rates are currently one part of the performance funding metrics of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG). That’s a problem. But it isn’t “killing” FAMU.

SUS schools that don’t meet the minimum performance standards can lose a capped amount of “institutional investment” money that comes out of their annual appropriation from the legislature. FAMU hasn’t lost any money due to that because it has met the minimum standards each year.