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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Times right choice to rebuild damaged reputation of FAMU Office of Communications

The FAMU Office of Communications took a huge hit in its public reputation under former President Elmira Mangum. But Kathy Y. Times is a strong new head administrator for the office who is already making strides in repairing the damage.

Mangum’s Vice-President of Communications and External Relations Jimmy Miller, who she appointed in 2014, provided such poor “leadership” that the Office of Communications itself became a recurring source of embarrassing news for FAMU.

Miller caused negative headlines by bumbling important communications with the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) regarding the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and reassignment of ex-Chief Financial Officer Dale Cassidy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

FAMU president has final say on faculty appointments, not deans

Last month’s Rattler Nation editorial that mentioned how John Thrasher used former FAMU President Elmira Mangum to help him put an end to 28 years of FAMU budget control at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) got the usual misinformed responses on social media from Rattlers-in-name-only who still don’t have a clue.

FAMU went from having control over the then-$10.4M COE budget in 2015 to now just being the tenure home of the COE dean.

One of the nonsense claims that’s still being spread is that FAMU is really better off now because previous COE deans declined to fill vacant FAMU faculty positions and moving the dean’s tenure home to FAMU was necessary to fix that problem.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Kyle Washington’s name finally gone from FAMU Communications staff directory

The administration of former President Elmira Mangum often ran its business like a third-rate reality TV series. But now, the channel is changing in Lee Hall.

One positive update that is now apparent on the webpage of the FAMU Office of Communications is that Kyle Washington’s name is finally gone from the staff directory. For a number of months, he was listed as the “student engagement coordinator.”

Washington’s appointment was an example of the low standards that Mangum’s Ex-Chief of Staff Jimmy Miller, who supervised the Office of Communications, and Ex-Assistant Vice President for the Office of Communications Elise Durham had for that administrative unit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mangum leaves FAMU with enrollment down to 9,612 students

The enrollment news at FAMU is bad. But it isn’t as bad as expected.

FAMU’s enrollment in Fall 2015 dropped to 9,920 (down from 10,233 in Fall 2014) under President Elmira Mangum. That loss of 313 students, with the rest of the student losses from that year, cost FAMU $9M+ in tuition and fees.

FAMU expected to lose about another $10.5M in tuition and fees due to its projected enrollment of 9,000, a loss of 920 students, in 2016-2017.

But Mangum told the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) during her final president’s report on September 15 that the university had 9,612 students for Fall 2016. That’s more than originally projected, but still a loss of 308 students from the previous fall.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lee built social media following among gullible, Rattlers-in-name-only

John Michael Lee is one of the biggest defenders of Elmira Mangum, the FAMU president who John Thrasher used to help him put an end to 28 years of FAMU budget control at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE). But now Lee is asking to be taken seriously in his claim that the powers-that-be are “using” the current FAMU administration.

The saddest thing is that Lee has a small, but loud social media following of gullible Rattlers-in-name-only who believe him.

On Monday, FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson terminated Lee’s contract as a special assistant in the Office of the President. Lee responded by putting his termination letter on display in an unofficial FAMU Alumni Facebook page and then posting rants with conspiracy theories about recent events at the university. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Curtain falls on Mangum-hosted Amateur Hour in Lee Hall

The cronyism of the Elmira Mangum era is coming to an end. Professionals who actually know how to run a university are now on their way back to Lee Hall.

Yesterday, FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson gave termination letters to six individuals who had worked in the central administration building under his predecessor.  The FAMUan reported that those six employees were: “Provost Marcella David, [Assistant Vice President for Communications] Elise Durham, Chief of Staff Jimmy Miller, Executive Assistant to the President Jackie Hightower and special assistants to the president Dee Gamble and John Lee.”

All six terminations were effective at the end of the business day on Monday, September 19. The student newspaper added that each individual was “placed on administrative leave with pay for 60 days.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jones quiet when Joyner backed confirmation of FAMU trustee who tried to fire Mangum

Hours before the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to accept an exit agreement put forth by President Elmira Mangum on Thursday, state Rep. Shevrin Jones sent out a Tweet stating that he was “disappointed” with the board.

“To the FAMU BOT I am disappointed in you,” wrote Jones, a FAMU alumnus. “But God knows I still love my University. Dr. @RattlerinChief, thank you for your leadership.”
That statement came about 10 months after Jones chose to keep quiet as one of Mangum’s biggest opponents on the BOT cruised to an easy confirmation in the Florida Senate.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Johnson supported Washington’s personally-driven impeachment campaign against Graham

Brandon Johnson, “interim” president of the FAMU Student Senate, was at the front-and-center of a series of weak efforts to encourage students to oppose the planned ouster of President Elmira Mangum. His call for students to join protests against the proposed exit agreement for Mangum received little support. Only about 20 students stayed the night during a sleep-in he led outside the Grand Ballroom on Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Johnson has fallen flat in trying to get FAMU students to back him. Most FAMU students weren’t in agreement when he joined Kyle Washington’s personally-driven impeachment campaign against then-Student Government Association (SGA) President Tonnette Graham.

Graham was the first black woman to win reelection to the SGA presidency and the first black woman to represent the Florida Student Association on the Florida Board of Governors.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Smith’s pro-Mangum protests got little support because most FAMU students don’t respect him

In the week leading up to the FAMU Board of Trustees vote on the negotiated exit plan for President Elmira Mangum, “Interim” Student Government Association (SGA) President Jaylen Smith did his best to drum up support for her among students. But his efforts fell flat because most FAMU students don’t respect him.

FAMU students didn’t elect Smith to serve as SGA president. The students chose Justin Bruno to be their SGA president during their Spring 2016 elections. Smith ended up as “interim” SGA president due to Mangum’s mishandling of the student election process.

That didn’t stop Smith from trying to get the Board of Trustees (BOT) to believe that he was the individual who represented the views of most FAMU students. But his mouth wrote a check that his weak leadership skills couldn’t cash.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

FAMU students chose Bruno to be their voice, Smith an unelected yes-man for Mangum

FAMU President Elmira Mangum has, for the most part, lost the support of the elected leadership of the university’s Faculty Senate, United Faculty of Florida (FAMU-UFF) chapter, and National Alumni Association (NAA). Students backed former Student Government Association (SGA) President Tonnette Graham’s work to hold Mangum responsible for her actions and elected her vice-president, Justin Bruno, to continue that leadership.

But the FAMU students don’t currently have an elected SGA president to represent them on the Board of Trustees (BOT) due to Mangum’s mishandling of the student elections. In April, Mangum announced that Jaylen Smith would serve as the “interim” SGA president. The FAMUan reported on April 27 that Smith, who had just elected as the Student Senate president, would be the interim SGA president because of the delay in finalizing the SGA presidential election.

Smith didn’t run for the SGA presidency in the spring when he was junior, probably because he knew he would have lost to Bruno. He’s now become the biggest yes-man on the BOT for the FAMU president who helped him get an office that he didn’t win.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cost of Mangum’s exit will be much less than cost of her projected $10.5M enrollment decline

On Thursday, the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) is scheduled to vote on an exit plan for President Elmira Mangum.

An article in the Florida Times-Union reported that the agreement “allows Mangum to take administrative leave for the remainder of her contract that expires March 31. Under the agreement, Mangum would still be eligible for a one-year sabbatical and tenured faculty position after that. The Board of Trustees would also pay her moving expenses to vacate the president's mansion up to $7,500, as well as a portion of her attorney's fees, anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000. Mangum would let trustees know by October 2017 if she did not want to take the faculty position.”

That means FAMU would pay Mangum the remainder of her full $425,000 salary (about $35,416 per month) from September 15 until the end of her contract on April 1st and then pay her another $425,000 for a sabbatical year for 2017-2018. She’d also be eligible to return to FAMU as a tenured professor at a salary of 90 percent of her former presidential pay ($382,500) for 2018-2019.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

David at fault for much of FAMU administration's poor treatment of faculty

Provost Marcella David and Faculty Senate President Bettye A. Grable
FAMU Provost Marcella David could become the acting university president on Thursday. That’s when the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) is scheduled to vote on a proposed exit plan for President Elmira Mangum.

David has been at the center of numerous public complaints that FAMU faculty members have about the current administration.

In her 2014-2015 evaluation of Mangum, some of Faculty Senate President and BOT member Bettye A. Grable’s biggest criticisms were about a lack of shared governance.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

David supported Joint Council in ending FAMU budget control at engineering college

FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Kelvin Lawson has said that Provost Marcella David could be named as an acting replacement for President Elmira Mangum next week. But David has been at the center of many of the biggest problems that led the BOT to deny Mangum a contract extension.

Last year, David helped Mangum and Florida State University President John Thrasher put an end to the 28 years of FAMU budget control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).

Back in 2015, with Mangum and David’s support, the legislature moved the $12.9M for the COE from the FAMU line to a new budget entity called “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.” 

Following the transfer, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council decided that it was going to start calling the shots on the COE operating budget. This has made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to now out vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

David hasn’t displayed skills that are needed to reverse FAMU enrollment decline

On Friday, a Tallahassee Democrat article reported that FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Kelvin Lawson said there’s a good chance that Provost Marcella David could be chosen as a temporary replacement for President Elmira Mangum.

The BOT Special Committee on Presidential Leadership unanimously approved a proposed exit plan on Friday that could lead to Mangum going on administrative by September 15, the date when the full BOT will discuss the recommendation.

The Democrat reported that if the BOT approves the plan, “trustees would likely name Provost Marcella David to the position of acting president, trustees chairman Kelvin Lawson said. That is spelled out in the university’s operating procedures, he said.”

FAMU BOT members should scratch David’s name off of the list of potential replacements for Mangum. The university has a big enrollment crisis and David hasn’t shown the skills that are needed to fix it.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Op-ed: All Ammons’ freshman classes had 3.0+ average GPAs

On Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat’s website posted an op-ed written by William J. Miller, III, a graduate of the Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry. Miller pointed out that all the freshman classes that entered FAMU during the presidency of James H. Ammons (2007-2012) had 3.0+ average GPAs from high school.

From the op-ed “Ammons’ students were well-qualified”:

There are false, but enduring, claims that former President James Ammons grew student numbers largely by admitting young women and men who performed poorly in high school. And then, the story continues, enrollment tumbled after the current administration decided to restrict enrollment mainly to high performing students.

Such is the perception of many who have not checked the facts.

FAMU Fact Book data proves that all full-time, first-time-in-college students Ammons admitted held an average high school grade point average that exceeded the 3.0 benchmark. In other words, all his freshman classes entered with “B” averages.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magnum, Thrasher have become quite a team

FAMU President Elmira Mangum helped FSU President John Thrasher put an end to the 28 years of FAMU budget control of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE) in 2015. She did that despite the existing legislative budget language that favored FAMU and the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) study that said nothing about shifting the money from the university. 

Last year, with Mangum's approval, the legislature moved the $12.9M for the COE from the FAMU line to a new budget entity called “FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.”  

Following the transfer, a new Joint College of Engineering Governance Council was created and it started calling the shots on the operating budget. This has made it possible for the FSU representatives and BOG Chancellor Marshall Criser, III to now out vote FAMU on budget decisions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

FAMU BOT didn’t approve $19.5M in tuition and fee losses as an enrollment strategy

Yesterday, FAMU President Elmira Mangum defended her administration’s recruitment and enrollment management practices in a guest column for HBCU Digest. She claimed that the continuing enrollment decline is a “byproduct of success.”

“Unlike other universities with declining enrollment, FAMU does not have a problem with student recruitment,” Mangum wrote. “Instead, our decline is the byproduct of success in graduating students and in the University’s policy change to recruit more college-ready students.”

An increase in the number of students who are graduating doesn't mean that an enrollment decline has to happen. A university can recruit more students to replace the ones who are graduating. An effort to recruit a bigger number of college-ready students doesn't mean that enrollment has to decline, either. A university can recruit college-ready students and grow its enrollment at the same time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FAMU SGA elections sink into further reality TV-style dysfunction

The 1st District Court of Appeal found that the FAMU administration didn’t break any laws when it backed a decision to redo the entire Student Government Association (SGA) presidential election during the spring. An article in the Tallahassee Democrat reported that “the panel did give support to [a circuit court] recommendation to limit the re-election to the Orlando campus” where the only voting-day problems were reported. It said that recommendation was “reasonable.”

But now that the lawsuit against the redo of the entire election redo has been thrown out, there isn’t much of a chance of the “reasonable” happening in the FAMU SGA mess, which is starting to look more like a second-rate reality TV show.

A former reality TV cast member is actually at the center of the drama. Kyle Washington, who appeared on the BET series “College Hill” in 2009, has had a big part in many negative headlines over FAMU SGA issues for years.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mangum administration not giving SBI credit it deserves for raising at least $6M of FAMU’s $12.3M since 2014

Back in June, FAMU School of Business and Industry Professor (SBI) Annette Singleton Jackson wrote an open letter that said President Elmira Mangum’s administration was “constantly taking credit for the accomplishments of others who came before, and those who continue to work for the betterment of FAMU.”

Another example of the problem Jackson pointed out could be seen in a July 22nd FAMU press release that announced that that the university finished the 2015-2016 year with a total of $6.5 million in contributions.

The press release stated that “this is the largest single-year fundraising total in Florida A&M University’s 128-year history, only exceeding the $5.8 million raised in 2014-2015 after a renewed focus was placed on fundraising under the leadership of President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D.”

That press release didn’t include one word about SBI even though that school is responsible for raising at least $6 million of the total $12.3 million that FAMU received in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. But Mangum’s name was mentioned seven times.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Martin achieving better enrollment results than Mangum while being paid $65,000 less

North Carolina A&T University Chancellor Harold Martin, who leads the largest single campus historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation, earns $360,000 per year.

He is continuing to grow enrollment at his alma mater with strong classes of freshmen students. The NCA&T Institutional Research freshman profile data shows that the freshman classes in Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 both had an average high school GPA of 3.28.

The NCA&T freshman class in Fall 2014 also had an average ACT score of 18.71. That was higher than the national average for black students, which was 17.1.