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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lawson, Proctor two of the last strong political voices for FAMU in Tallahassee

FAMU has received poor representation from its alumni in the Florida Legislature since 2015. They chose to keep silent as the state of FAMU’s administration went downhill.

Two of the last strong political voices for FAMU in Tallahassee are Alfred “Al” Lawson and William C. “Bill” Proctor, Jr. 

Back in July of 2015, FAMU lost budget authority for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) after 28 years. FAMU President Elmira Mangum supported the changes that led to this.

Lawson, a FAMU alumnus and former Florida Senate Minority Leader, told a reporter the next month that he had offered his help to Mangum a number of times but she wasn’t interested in hearing what he had to say.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mangum’s vague 2016-2017 goals reflect her lack of vision

Last week, the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) took President Elmira Mangum to task for the vague goals she presented for May 2016 to April 2017. Those will be the final 11 months of her three-year contract.

The problem reflects the lack of vision that Mangum has as a president.

Back when Mangum was hired, some FAMUans thought her background at Cornell University would make her a champion for building new doctoral programs at FAMU.

But the goals for 2016-2017 that Mangum gave to the BOT Special Committee on Presidential Evaluation failed to include any specific plans for the expansion of doctoral programs that FAMU needs to climb up to “R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest research activity” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Warren was another low-quality trustee with no loyalty to FAMU

For years the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) has declined many excellent applications for the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) in order to appoint low-quality individuals like Cleve Warren. The BOG finally got rid of Warren yesterday after he spent years hurting FAMU.

The end of Warren’s time on the BOT came after he chose to keep silent about FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s slights against top Republican politicians in the state of Florida.

Warren didn’t lift a finger to help when FAMU lost budget authority for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering after 28 years or after the vice-president for audit and compliance reported “potential interference” in his work. He also didn’t speak out about the terrible media relations by the current administration.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Thrasher used smart strategy to guarantee he gets result he wants in COE dean selection

FSU Professor Emmanuel Collins and FSU Professor Bruce Locke
Selection process for FAMU-FSU College of Engineering dean since 1987
Back in 2015, the FAMU administration led by President Elmira Mangum said that “gaining the responsibility of selecting the dean” of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) was important for FAMU.

“Arresting the decline in FAMU’s student body means hiring new faculty, which is an important factor in attracting students. The dean has the responsibility of approving vacant and new line items. Gaining the responsibility of selecting the dean will help to address this issue,” a FAMU press release said.

But “gaining the responsibility of selecting the dean” isn’t what happened at FAMU.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thrasher has power to keep Locke in FAMU-FSU deanship for as long as he wants

Back when Elmira Mangum agreed to jointly appoint Bruce Locke as the interim dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE), she also indirectly gave John Thrasher the power to keep him that position for as long as he wants.

Locke is a professor with tenure at FSU and was an FSU associate provost when Mangum gave her approval for his joint appointment to the COE interim deanship. He is now a finalist for the permanent COE deanship.

If Thrasher wants Locke to become permanent dean and Mangum says “no,” then Locke will just stay on in the interim deanship on an indefinite basis.

Rattler Nation has been writing about this obvious problem for months.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tampa Bay Times editorial board: “Court protects black voters over incumbent”

Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida rejected U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s legal challenge against the redrawn Fifth Congressional District.

Back in 2015, Florida Supreme Court Justices E.C. Perry and Peggy Quince said that the new District 5 map is fair to minority voters. The Tampa Bay Times editorial board agreed in an editorial it released yesterday.

From the editorial: “Court protects black voters over incumbent”:

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.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Administrative mishandling of FAMU student elections was too obvious to ignore

Justin Bruno speaks as Victor Chrispin stands behind him and Elmira Mangum watches
Yesterday, FAMU Student Government Association (SGA) Vice-President Justin Bruno saw victory in his legal action against the university administration.

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper granted Bruno’s request for a temporary injunction to stop a full redo of the SGA presidential election in both Tallahassee and the law school campus in Orlando. Cooper agreed with Bruno that the new election should only take place in Orlando where voting-day problems were reported.

The judge rejected a “motion to dismiss” by the FAMU attorneys. He also disagreed with the FAMU legal team’s argument that the Tallahassee campus should be part of the election redo, too.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bruno in middle of Mangum, Graham conflict

FAMU Student Government Association (SGA) President Tonnette S. Graham has been an advocate of giving Elmira Mangum a fair shot to do the best she can in Lee Hall. But she’s refused to be a yes-woman for the FAMU president.

Voting “No Confidence” Kellen Winslow, Sr.

Mangum got off to a friendly start with Graham when she began her first term as SGA president back in May 2014. That soon changed in the fall when the two clashed over Mangum’s first athletic director, Kellen Winslow, Sr.

Winslow angered many FAMU supporters by saying that the athletics department should be torn down and rebuilt “the right way,” firing Head Football Coach Earl Holmes during homecoming week, and asking the student-athletes who complained to him about Holmes’ firing: “Don’t y’all have a book to read?”

Hundreds of FAMU students showed their anger by booing Winslow during the 2014 Homecoming Convocation. Graham let The FAMUan know that she was also disappointed with Winslow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Antics of FAMU communications “leadership” a continuous magnet for negative publicly

Public displays of unprofessionalism and questionable actions by the “leadership” of the Office of Communications are part of the weekly routine for the current FAMU administration. The latest round of embarrassments just adds to the list of reasons why its senior staff members shouldn’t be trusted.

Chief of Staff Jimmy Miller, who supervises the Office of Communications, bumbled through another set of letters to the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) last week. He told the BOT on March 14 that ex-Chief Financial Officer Dale Cassidy had been reassigned to work as the FAMU chief audit executive. But he then wrote the BOT members again to tell them that Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens “will continue to serve as the university’s chief audit executive.” Miller also said some of Givens’ duties would shift to Cassidy but only gave a vague statement on that point.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Humphries: Democratic voters should ask candidates for details about their HBCU plans

Frederick S. Humphries, the eighth president of Florida A&M University, shared the following message on his official Facebook page on March 11th:

Issues, Questions & Answers - What's in it for HBCUs?

There has been significant discussion regarding free tuition for Higher Education and what the implications are to HBCU's. Both Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders have indicated in broad strokes their intentions to help HBCU's as part of their proposed Higher Education packages, but little with respect to details has been discussed - at least in the public forum.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Treatment of Yeboah a stain on FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s reputation

Yaw D. Yeboah, a native of Ghana, became the first black dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) on July 1, 2012. He then abruptly announced his resignation less than three years later amid a shakeup that handed new FSU President John Thrasher all the cards for deciding the future of the deanship.  

Yeboah had emphasized the diversity component of the COE mission during his short time as the dean.

“Time is a gift that we have to use to grow, produce and serve — which is synonymous with the motto of the college: ‘Quality, Growth and Diversity,’” he said during his first year. “My long-term plan is for the college to grow strategically, be diverse and have nationally ranked engineering programs from both the academic and research viewpoints.”

But the new focus of the COE and its current deanship search appears to be Thrasher’s goal of helping FSU become one of the top 25 public universities.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Joyner recommended confirming Carter after he publicly mocked FAMU alumni lawmakers

Florida Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner voted to recommend the confirmation of Matt Carter to the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) last month despite his previous decision to publicly mock the FAMU alumni in the state legislature.

At the February 8, 2016 meeting of the Florida Senate Higher Education Committee, Joyner personally asked that Carter receive a favorable recommendation for confirmation.

“I’d like to move for confirmation of Mr. Carter,” she said.

The committee then unanimously approved Joyner’s motion. Carter, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, was later confirmed by the full Florida Senate for a term that ends on January 6, 2018.

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.”

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2007: Lawson succeeds in blocking Lowe’s reappointment to FAMU Board of Trustees

Back when Florida A&M University alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson was in the Florida Senate he didn’t just talk about holding FAMU trustees responsible for their actions. He did it.

In 2007, Lawson rallied members of the majority Republican state Senate to block the reappointment of Challis Lowe, the chairwoman of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT).

Lowe was one of the biggest supporters of former Interim President Castell Bryant, defending her even as her administration received the first and only qualified state audits in the history of FAMU.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lawson, Jones primary could highlight differences in commitment to battling attacks on FAMU

FAMU alumna and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown still hasn’t ruled out running in District 10 in Central Florida if her federal lawsuit against the redrawn map for her current District 5 (CD5) fails. FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson is running for the new CD5 in North Florida and FAMU alumna Mia Jones, a current state representative from Jacksonville, has said she might enter the race if Brown decides against seeking reelection.

Lawson and Jones would both be vying to represent FAMU in Congress if they faced off in a primary and would likely tout their records on FAMU issues in the Florida Legislature. One FAMU issue where Lawson and Jones have shown big differences in commitment is on defending FAMU control of the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Better late than never; Mangum’s staff completes Trustee Directory updates

On Monday, the administration of President Elmira Mangum finally finished updating the Board of Trustees (BOT) directory on

The Florida Board of Governors made 20 appointments to public university boards on January 21, including the selection of Thomas Dortch Jr. and Craig Reed for the FAMU BOT. At the University of Florida, the BOT webpage was updated promptly to include its new trustee. But the Trustee Directory was incomplete for weeks.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Decline in FAMU advocacy among numerous questionable decisions by Florida Black Caucus

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus (FLBC) was once one of the most consistent sources of advocacy that Florida A&M University had. But over the past year, the group has simply ignored a number of attacks against the university.

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 FLBC still doesn’t seem to see a problem and has kept quiet.

That FLBC’s decline in commitment to defending FAMU comes at a time when news reports are raising serious questions about its operations, especially when it comes to its relationship with the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators (a nonprofit foundation).

Monday, February 08, 2016

Arthenia Joyner failing to defend FAMU in Florida Senate with boldness Carrie Meek had

When Carrie Meek was the most prominent FAMU graduate in the Florida Senate, she provided the leadership necessary to ensure that FAMU gained and kept control of the budget for the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

But after all the hard work Meek did to keep the budget at FAMU, current Senate Democratic Leader and FAMU alumna Arthenia Joyner failed to battle against it being taken away from the university in 2015.

Back in 1987, FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries struck a deal with FSU President Bernie Sliger for FAMU to receive control of the COE budget in exchange for him agreeing to support Innovation Park as the building site for the COE.

Meek used her seat in the Florida Senate to help move the annual appropriation for the COE into the FAMU general revenue line in 1987. She also made sure that it stayed there up until she left the state Senate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.