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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Two of the loudest defenders of Holmes’ firing shouldn’t have been hired at FAMU themselves

Kellen Winslow, Sr. and John Michael Lee were two of the loudest defenders of the decision to terminate former Rattler Head Football Coach Earl Holmes back in 2014. But Winslow and Lee were both poor selections for employment at FAMU themselves.

Back in 2012, Central State University President John Garland fired Winslow from the position of athletic director. Winslow responded by making a number of apparently bitter comments in the media.

The Springfield News-Sun reported on the back-and-forth between Winslow and the Central State president:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Holmes’ firing handled almost as incompetently as Joe’s termination

One big problem behind the decline of the Florida A&M football program over the past ten years has been the willingness of some so-called Rattlers to defend administrative mistreatment of the coaching staff. Too many people who tell the world that they “bleed Orange & Green” have had such a personal dislike of certain football coaches that they didn’t even care about treating those employees with fairness.

The unprofessional termination process used against Earl Holmes in 2015, which a number of “Rattlers” still claim isn’t a big deal, was almost as much of a national embarrassment as the incompetent firing of Billy Joe in 2005.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Public tensions among Mangum’s VPs adding to dysfunction

Only a short time after Dale Cassidy reported to work as the new chief financial officer of FAMU in October of 2014, talk began to swirl on campus that he was effectively the #2 vice-president in Elmira Mangum’s administration.

Cassidy started his job at FAMU about a month before Mangum announced in a November 2014 press release that Marcella David would become the new provost. The provost is officially the second-in-line to the presidency at FAMU, but David’s start date was not until February 2015. So in the months before David came to Tallahassee, Cassidy took on a leading role in helping the new Mangum administration get up-and-running.

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.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Students protest as Scott prepares to make appointments that will decide Mangum’s fate

Back in 2011, FAMU Student Body President Breyon Love led close to 1,200 students in a march to the Florida Governor’s Mansion to protest Gov. Rick Scott’s request for the university Board of Trustees to suspend President James H. Ammons. Scott asked the board to take that action seven days after it rejected a motion by Trustee Rufus Montgomery to place Ammons on administrative leave.

Yesterday, Rufus’ attempt to get rid of the president who succeeded Ammons led to another student protest and a march to the governor’s office.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

State law doesn’t say that Joint Council is in charge of $12.9M College of Engineering budget

On Sunday, Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee was in attendance when the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted 8-4 to decline a performance bonus for President Elmira Mangum. Williams, a FAMU alumnus, later said that he hoped the board and president could find a way to work out their differences.

“What we are all hopeful of is that we all have adults in the room that will use their appointed position as president or their appointed position as a Board of Trustees member in a way that most effectively promotes FAMU and protects the resources and tax dollars that are entrusted to them to make sure that FAMU is producing quality graduates,” Williams told the Florida Times-Union.

BOT Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson, who made the motion to deny a bonus to Mangum, said that the shift of the $12.9M core operating budget of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) from FAMU to FSU was a problem that Mangum needed to work to fix. That change was made without a vote of approval from the FAMU BOT and was supported by Mangum. A number of other FAMU trustees have also said that the shift of the COE budget to FSU shouldn't have happened.

Williams could help Mangum with this problem by publicly clarifying the fact that the General Appropriations Act didn’t state that the Joint College of Engineering Governance Council is charge of that $12.9M.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Condescending attitudes toward students a recurring problem in Mangum administration

Almost one year ago, hundreds of FAMU students booed President Elmira Mangum’s first permanent athletic director at the 2014 Homecoming Convocation following his disrespectful treatment of the football team.

Earlier that week, Athletic Director Kellen Winslow, Sr. had angered many FAMU students with a set of comments he made to a group of football players who visited him to express their disagreement with his decision to terminate Head Coach Earl Holmes.

Winslow tried to shoo them away by saying “Don’t y’all have a book to read?”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FSU awards $90K bonus to Thrasher, bonus appears unlikely for Mangum at FAMU

On Sunday, October 18 the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) will discuss whether it will award a performance bonus to President Elmira Mangum. The bonus clause in the employment agreement between Mangum and the BOT says the following:
Based upon her achievement of specific annual goals and objectives which have been mutually agreed upon in writing by Dr. Mangum and the Board, Dr. Mangum may be eligible to receive annual performance bonus not to exceed ten percent (10%) of the annual base salary, as provided for in subparagraph 4.0, contingent upon the availability of funds from the FAMU Foundation.

At its first meeting after September 30 of each year, the Board shall take a vote on payment of a bonus which shall be proportional to the goals and objectives met and shall state the amount thereof…
Last week, the Florida State University (FSU) Board of Trustees voted to approve a $90,000 bonus and a 7.4 percent raise for President John Thrasher. But it appears unlikely that the FAMU BOT will approve a bonus or a raise for Mangum.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Mangum’s unprofessional treatment of Cummings-Martin continues

Back in 2007, Carmen Cummings-Martin replaced Altha Manning as the new executive director of FAMU Alumni Affairs. She took on the tough task of essentially rebuilding an office that had been under-supported and politicized by the previous interim administration.

Cummings-Martin turned Alumni Affairs around and fixed its broken relationship with the FAMU National Alumni Association (NAA). She and her staffers provided critical services such as managing financial transactions, processing memberships, and helping to coordinate NAA elections.

But it looks like the Office of Alumni Affairs is being politicized all over again by the current FAMU administration.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

FAMU football team starts 0-5 for second consecutive season

The FAMU football season has begun its season with a 0-5 record for the second consecutive year.

Back on October 28 of last year, then-Athletic Director Kellen Winslow confirmed that Rattler Head Football Coach Earl Holmes had been fired.

Over his nearly two seasons as head coach, Holmes amassed a record of six wins and 16 losses. Holmes’ firing came at a time when the team was showing steady improvement, having won two out of its last three contests and with the Homecoming game just four days away.

Winslow’s disrespectful treatment of Holmes and his decision to continue to make insulting comments about the university and its supporters finally led many FAMUans to lose patience with him. Hundreds of FAMU students and alumni booed Winslow at the Homecoming Convocation.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Glover pays to bring “Battle of the Bands” to FAMU despite Mangum’s refusal to do the same for TSU

A total of 18,202 people filled Bragg Memorial Stadium for last weekend’s home opener game. That was a great start to the football season considering the average home game numbers from the past three years. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the average home game attendance for the Rattlers was 14,261 in 2012, 11,169 in 2013, and 11,172 in 2014.

The 0-3 record of the Rattler football didn’t help bring those fans to the campus. But the return of the “Battle of the Bands” between FAMU and Tennessee State University (TSU) did.

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.”

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tripp’s record at FAU disqualifies him from criticizing FAMU’s graduation rate

Norman Tripp was a member of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Board of Trustees for more than six years and served as its chairman between 2007 and 2008. The six-year graduation rate never rose above 39.8 percent during any of those years. But he now seems to think that his record at FAU somehow qualifies him to be a leading critic of the current 39.03 percent six-year graduation rate at FAMU.

Back in 2001, Gov. Jeb Bush chose Tripp to be a member of the first-ever Board of Trustees at FAU. The six-year graduation rate at the university was 39.8 percent that year. That was the highest it would ever be during Tripp’s years on the BOT. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Senior “leadership” of FAMU Office of Communications taking division backwards

The FAMU Office of Communications used to be a very reliable and well-run administrative division. But its new senior “leadership” is taking it backwards.

The quality of writing has declined in the weekly “feature” press releases about major FAMU achievements. The press releases often fail to give thorough answers to the basic questions that they are supposed to answer (Who? What? When? Where? and Why?).

Lately the office itself has been a source of embarrassing news for FAMU. 

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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

BOG not signaling any interest in saving Mangum presidency

Back in June, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) said that it would review the claims from a group of FAMU alumni in the legislature who said that FAMU Board of Trustee Chairman Rufus Montgomery’s treatment of President Elmira Mangum has been “bordering dangerously close to bullying.” But the BOG still isn’t signaling any interest in saving the Mangum presidency.

The tension between Rufus and Mangum has increased in the weeks after the lawmakers took their concerns to the BOG.  The latest clash took place on August 17 when Mangum accused Rufus of violating her “employee rights according to University Regulation 10.103(3b) -Nondiscrimination Policy and Harassment Procedures.” She later told the Florida Times-Union that she thought Rufus was working toward the goal of firing her.

But BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser and BOG member Matthew Carter both downplayed the seriousness of the problems that Rufus and Mangum have with each other in statements to the media this week. Criser brushed off the issue by saying that it was “noise around the edges.” Carter told a reporter that “I don’t think the relationship is broken.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rufus rebuffs lawmakers’ calls for him to resign, hints at SACS rule against political meddling

Back in 2011, Rufus Montgomery was quiet after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) scolded Gov. Rick Scott for interfering in the FAMU Board of Trustees’ duties by trying to pressure it to suspend then-President James H. Ammons. SACS told the governor that his actions could jeopardize FAMU’s accreditation.

SACS Standard 3.2.4 states that each member’s governing board must be “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and [protect] the institution from such influence.”

Rufus had called for Ammons to be placed on administrative leave only seven days before the governor made his statement in support of the same proposal. He declined to criticize Scott for placing FAMU’s accreditation in danger. But yesterday, Rufus appeared to be very anxious to remind a group of FAMU alumni lawmakers about SACS Standard 3.2.4.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

McKnight placed in the middle of Mangum, BOT leadership dispute over SACS rules

The dispute between FAMU President Elmira Mangum and the Board of Trustees leadership over the rules of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has put Avery McKnight between a rock and a hard place.

Back on August 5, the chairman and vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees challenged Mangum’s claim that the shift of the $12,996,539 core operating budget of the College of Engineering (COE) to Florida State University (FSU) was a “management decision.”

The Joint College of Engineering Governance Council unanimously passed a resolution to make that change during a meeting on May 20. The decision was made without a vote of approval by the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Vice-Chairman Kelvin Lawson said that “Section 3: Comprehensive Standards” of the SACS rules could give the Board of Trustees a way to challenge what the Joint Council did.  “Section 3” includes a rule that says the policy-making job of the board of a school must remain distinct from the job of the administration to oversee the execution of policies.

Monday, August 17, 2015

BOT shouldn’t give Mangum its trust as long as she refuses to answer questions about alleged Cassidy call

Back during a discussion with the FAMU Board of Trustees on August 5, President Elmira Mangum was uncooperative when she was asked for a “yes or no” answer to a question about an alleged phone call that the chairman said he received from a vice-president in her administration.

At the Special Committee on Governance meeting held on that day, Chairman Rufus Montgomery said that a senior member of the FAMU administrative team had called him and asked him if he would be willing to have the committee end its discussions on two topics it was considering. According to him, those topics were the possibility of having the FAMU general counsel report to the Board of Trustees in addition to the president and clarifying the options that are available to the board for employing outside counsel.

The chairman said the administrator told him that in exchange, Vice-President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Avery McKnight could be replaced with a new potential general counsel.

Monday, August 10, 2015

FAMU trustees reaffirm confidence in Rufus, continue questioning Mangum’s leadership

Rufus reelected chair, Lawson reelected vice-chair

On July 30, Rattler Nation reported that Rufus Montgomery was on his way to an easy reelection as chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees and that Cleve Warren was unlikely to run against him again.

Sure enough, the FAMU Board of Trustees unanimously reelected Rufus on August 6. Warren didn’t come to the meeting or even bother to participate over the phone.

The members of the board also reelected Kelvin Lawson to the vice-chairmanship. Belinda Shannon nominated Kimberly Moore for the job, but Moore declined to vote for herself and supported Lawson. Shannon cast the only vote for Moore.