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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Carroll: “I gave [Rick Scott] 100 percent of my loyalty” only to be “betrayed”

FAMU honors Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll for keynoting its 2012 Black History Month Convocation
Last year, a Rattler Nation editorial remarked that Jennifer Carroll’s resignation as lieutenant governor was “just another example of how [Gov. Rick Scott] requires 100 percent loyalty from his appointees while demanding that they expect none in return.”

The editorial added that: “She defended his integrity when questions were raised about his embarrassing financial past as the head of Columbia/HCA. Scott rewarded Carroll’s loyalty by kicking her to the curb in the wake of an alleged scam that pales in comparison to the one that led to his exit from the health care company he ran years ago.”

It looks like there’s someone else who shares this view: Jennifer Carroll.

Carroll opened up about her years as lieutenant governor in a May radio interview.

“I gave him 100 percent of my loyalty, even though we didn’t know each other prior to running, and he had his issues with HCA and Medicaid fraud,” she said. “I never asked him a question about that. Never.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

BOG has no standing to lecture state universities about shady executive searches

BOG Chairman Mori Hosseini with fellow board members
The FAMU presidential search process was bad, but the one at Florida State University has been plain ugly.

At least the individuals who attempted to ruin the search for FAMU’s 11th president had enough shame to pretend like they weren’t trying to do so. FSU’s presidential search committee seemed ready to simply fast track state Sen. John E. Thrasher into the job before faculty and student protests and negative editorials pressured it to back down.

Now, members of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) are using the FSU controversy and embarrassing showdown over FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s contract as excuses to help them claim more control over future presidential search processes at public universities. BOG Chairman Mori Hosseini says there should be more BOG members on presidential selection committees.

Shady searches for top executives have become a serious problem in the State University System of Florida (SUS). And the BOG’s two most recent chancellorship searches offer some of the best examples.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tampa Bay Times editorial: Scott tosses scraps at public universities that are still starving

From the editorial “Scott's budget vetoes reflect re-election campaign, not conservative values” by the Tampa Bay Times:

Turns out that in an election year, Gov. Rick Scott doesn't mind spending taxpayer money. The governor on Monday signed into law the largest state budget ever while vetoing the smallest amount of spending since taking office. That leaves in place hundreds of millions in legislative special projects, many of which never received a full public vetting. This is a budget grounded more in Scott's re-election campaign than in his professed fiscal conservatism.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Blackburn: NCAA penalizing FAMU with unfair standards that fail to consider financial resource gap

A recent op-ed by Tallahassee Democrat senior writer Doug Blackburn explains why it’s unfair for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to penalize colleges such as FAMU, which have relatively small athletic budgets, for not meeting the same Academic Progress Rate as schools that have much more money to spend.

From the op-ed “Tone deaf NCAA deals FAMU a low blow”:

Florida A&M University's two prime-time sports programs suffered a low blow a couple of weeks back when the NCAA ruled that the Rattlers' football and men's basketball teams will be banned from post-season competition during 2014-2015.

Student-athletes on those teams did not satisfy the APR (Academic Progress Rate) standards the NCAA instituted 10 years ago.

Shame on the NCAA for being tone deaf in a surround-sound world.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Proctor: Thrasher presidency would hurt FAMU, tarnish FSU’s reputation

In a recent Tallahassee Democrat op-ed, Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor detailed how a presidency at Florida State University would tarnish that school’s reputation and hurt FAMU.
John E. Thrasher

From Proctor’s op-ed:

Speaking for my constituents in Leon County, we are alarmed, stunned and aghast that state Sen. John Thrasher looms as Florida State University’s president-in-waiting. Sen. Thrasher disrespects and has demonstrated ill will toward current and future Florida A&M University students. His name generates ill will across many pockets.

There could be no more divisive and polarizing figure than this former chairman of Florida’s Republican Party to become FSU’s president. Has the FSU presidency become a Lotto grab available to the highest political bidder under the province of Florida’s Republican Party? Speaking for my constituents, we believe the Florida State University Board of Trustees should distance this university from a red-hot political polarizer and the domain of a conservative political party.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Possible Thrasher presidency at FSU expands threat against tenure in SUS

Ever since Gov. Rick Scott came to Tallahassee, FAMU and the University of Florida have been the two biggest battle sites in the war over the future of tenure in the State University System of Florida (SUS). But now, John E. Thrasher’s candidacy for the Florida State University presidency has brought the anti-tenure threat to that school’s doorstep.

Thrasher, chairman of Scott’s reelection campaign, is a state senator who championed the governor’s bill to get rid of tenure in the state’s K-12 schools. Jennifer Proffitt, president of the FSU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, explained why that is problem.

“Proffitt said faculty are concerned about Thrasher’s lack of experience within higher education administration and might be wary of him since he pushed for a state bill to eliminate tenure for new public school teachers in favor of a merit-based system,” the Florida Times-Union reported.

Those who want to eliminate tenure in higher education often claim that it isn’t “merit-based.” But the website of FSU’s own provost takes that point to task.

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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bill Proctor: Thrasher’s proposal doesn’t include a penny for FAMU

A Tallahassee Democrat op-ed by Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor called attention to the fact that Sen. John Thrasher’s proposal to split the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering doesn’t include any new money to help FAMU build an independent program. FSU controls the money that pays for 36 members of the current college’s faculty and Thrasher hasn’t offered one cent for FAMU to conduct faculty replacement hiring for those positions.

If FAMU doesn’t receive the money to replace all of the FSU faculty members who leave during the split, then it might not be able to meet the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET) accreditation requirements for all of the current degree programs.

From Proctor’s op-ed:

Sen. John Thrasher declares his budget amendment to separate the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering would strengthen Florida State’s stride toward becoming a Top 25 public (taxpayer-supported) university.

Like Gov. George Wallace, why are Thrasher and the Senate, legislatively speaking, standing in the doorway of the College of Engineering and decreeing that FAMU students cannot come in? In effect, Thrasher and the senators want FAMU’s students to get out and stay out of engineering sciences at FSU. Does “pre-eminence” mean that students from a black school are not welcome to tag along and mess up the white members-only society?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Montford loud in seeking Rattler votes, but quiet on threat to FAMU’s engineering programs

State Sen. Bill Montford in the 2013 FAMU Homecoming Parade
State Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, hasn’t been shy about asking for Rattler votes. When homecoming season rolls around, he’s quick to put on Orange & Green clothes, wave at FAMU fans during the downtown parade, and tell everyone how much he cares about the university.

This has helped his political career. Back during his reelection bid in 2012, the FAMU Grand Ballroom precinct (#1309) contributed 1930 votes to his victory. The Florida State University campus precinct at Salley Hall (#2503) only gave him 553 votes.

But despite all of his talk about wanting to look out for FAMU, Montford was very quiet during the recent Florida Senate debate over the future of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Engineering college split stands to violate Florida’s consent decree with USDOE Office of Civil Rights

Back during the 1970s, the federal government gave Florida and a number of other states a choice. They could either start complying in honesty with Congressional laws that mandated the desegregation of higher education or pay the consequences. Those consequences included a loss of eligibility for millions in federal education funding.

The State of Florida avoided those possible federal penalties by entering into a desegregation consent decree with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. During the 1980s, it moved to fulfill part of that consent decree by agreeing to fully fund an engineering school at FAMU. FAMU had received authorization to open an engineering school back in 1949, but had not received a sufficient level of monetary support from the state.

Florida State University also wanted an engineering school at the time and successfully lobbied to be part of the one at FAMU. That led to the creation of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

A proposal by Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, now threatens to place Florida in violation of the federal consent decree, which is currently enforced by the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Tallahassee Democrat editorial: “Attack on engineering school stinks”

From the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board on Friday, April 4:

On Wednesday evening, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, offered a surprise amendment to the state’s budget that would let Florida State University end its 30-year involvement with FAMU in their joint College of Engineering and start to plan for its own engineering school.

On Thursday, senators approved the amendment by a voice vote. And Florida A&M alumni and supporters had the same sick feeling they experienced in the mid-1960s, when the state took away the university’s law school in favor of FSU’s.

The timing and the process of this latest move stink.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mangum should remember O’Jays’ warning in “Backstabbers” as R.B. tries to befriend her

When the Marching 100 returned during the fall, Rattlers near and far sang word-by-word as the band played classic favorites such as “Backstabbers” by the O’Jays. New FAMU President Elmira Mangum should think of the warnings in that particular song as R.B. Holmes seeks to become her “friend.”

The O’Jays described individuals like R.B. very accurately when they said: “They smile in your face, all the time they want to take your place.”

Back during his ten years as a FAMU trustee, R.B. engaged in a long series of jealous power struggles against sitting university presidents. He seemed to want to personally run much of FAMU without all of the responsibilities that came with the presidential position.

Ever since his appointment expired in 2011, R.B. has been trying to regain a foothold in Lee Hall. Now, it looks like he is trying to fast-talk Mangum into bringing him into her inner circle. She would be wise to keep his knife from getting close to her back.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Mangum should insist on having a super-majority clause in her contract

No one could blame Elmira Mangum if she has started having second thoughts about the FAMU presidency after the way the university’s Board of Trustees treated her last week.

Attorneys for Mangum and FAMU came to a mutual agreement over a proposed contract. But on Friday, board members shot down the joint recommendation and demanded that the president-designate agree to changes in areas such as compensation.

The trustees also took a disrespectful “our way or the highway” tone toward Mangum by effectively giving her one week to concede to less generous employment terms.

At this rate, it would not be shocking to see Mangum just  say “no thanks” and stay in her comfortable job at Cornell University.

But if Mangum does decide to give the FAMU Board of Trustees a second chance (which is what a large number of students, faculty, and alumni are hoping), she should not put her signature on any employment agreement that lacks a “super-majority clause.”

Saturday, February 01, 2014

FAMU Board of Trustees goes to battle with Mangum over employment agreement

Unresolved tensions from the FAMU presidential search resurfaced on Friday when the university’s Board of Trustees shot down a proposed contract for Elmira Mangum.

Attorneys for Mangum and FAMU had come to an agreement on a three-year contract that included a $425,000 base salary, ten percent bonus option, and 15 percent annuity. But rather than approve the joint recommendation, the FAMU board chose to go to battle with the woman it just voted to hire as the university’s 11th president three weeks ago.

The Board of Trustees ordered FAMU’s lawyers to get back in the negotiating room and demand that Mangum’s lawyers accept changes in areas such as compensation and benefits. Some of the loudest criticism of the proposed contract came from Trustees Rufus Montgomery and Glen Gilzean.

But what the board is actually willing to approve is anyone’s guess. The trustees failed to reach a consensus on what type of salary and benefit package they would find acceptable. Individual trustees will send their own recommendations in to the university’s attorneys.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

FAMU trustees try to save face after dirty, dysfunctional presidential search process

Had the behind-the-scenes deal-making at FAMU gone as planned, Elmira Mangum would have never become one of the two finalists for the university presidency.

Ahead of the application deadline, Rattler Nation learned that certain FAMU-associated individuals who were eager to please Gov. Rick Scott had passed an unofficial short list of presidential candidates up the ranks. That list had a Washington, DC candidate, a Georgia candidate, and a Texas candidate.

It was said that the DC candidate was former Howard University President Patrick Swygert and that the Georgia candidate was Morehouse School of Medicine President John E. Maupin, Jr.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Price’s selection as a finalist another example of search committee’s incompetent vetting

Karl E. White, chairman of the FAMU presidential search committee
Rattlers far and near should be embarrassed that the FAMU presidential search committee actually named John Ellis Price a finalist for the university presidency.

Back when Price was the president of the University of Texas at Dallas (UNTD), he treated his professors like dirt. He tried to terminate the entire faculty of the school (then a branch campus of UNT Denton) in 2010 before backing off in the wake of negative publicity. A 2012 UNT Dallas faculty survey that received a 51 percent participation rate found that most of respondents thought Price’s administration lacked effective communication skills, openness, and receptiveness. That was his last year as president.

Price shouldn’t have made the first cut, let alone the finalist stage. His selection as one of the two top-recommended candidates is another example of the incompetent vetting process led by FAMU presidential search committee Chairman Karl E. White.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Ex-Maupin supporters seeking to even the score through coup to seat Price

FAMU is a big university. But it’s still much too small to keep certain secrets.  

Many supporters of John E. Maupin, Jr. did a poor job of hiding what they were trying do behind-the-scenes. They made things even worse for themselves after they were discovered. Rather than making the smart choice and shutting up, they decided to get cocky and declare victory before Maupin even applied for the job.

That boasting was replaced with embarrassment when the Rattlers who wanted a clean presidential search process raised so much hell that Maupin got cold feet and dropped his candidacy.

The worst isn’t over, yet. Many FAMUans were excited to hear the praise that trustees such as Karl White, Torey Alston, and Narayan Persaud had for Elmira Mangum’s candidacy, yesterday. But Rattlers need to look beneath the surface of what’s being said out in public.

There is move afoot by some ex-Maupin supporters to get revenge for what happened to their candidate. Mangum, who’s received the backing of many alumni who loudly criticized Maupin, has become a target for that anger.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Maupin, Suber too arrogant and disrespectful toward faculty to provide quality leadership

If John E. Maupin, Jr. had decided to go ahead and call in for his scheduled FAMU interview today, he would have been greeted with the following Rattler Nation headline:

“Maupin received vote of no confidence from Meharry Faculty Senate in 2003.”

According to the Tennessee Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP): “One June 4th, [2003] the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in President John Maupin by a margin of 45 to 5 with 15 abstentions. The vote came after 13 professors were terminated and a number of others found their contracts restructured with substantial reductions in salaries.”

An investigating committee of the AAUP later accused Maupin of effectively eliminating the tenure system at Meharry Medical College during his presidency at that school. There were also allegations that he used intimidation tactics to pressure faculty members into publicly supporting that overhaul.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Persaud throwing FAMU faculty under the bus as he pursues personal power

Narayan Persaud is borrowing a page out of Mary Diallo’s book.

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.

Instead of treating FAMU’s professors like they worked at a research university, Castell treated them like community college personnel. She immediately trampled over the principle of shared governance by denying them input in the selection of both the new vice-president for research and provost (another ex-community college administrator). But even those first warning shots, Diallo continued to fend off efforts to introduce a resolution of “no confidence” against Castell in the Faculty Senate.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Maupin presidency could help Scott reshape FAMU in the model of Florida Polytechnic

The selection of John E. Maupin, Jr. as a semifinalist for the FAMU presidency is good news for Florida’s anti-tenure governor. A Maupin administration could be just what Gov. Rick Scott needs to reshape FAMU in the model of one of his pet projects, Florida Polytechnic University.

Back in 1998, the Florida Board of Regents announced a Three Tier Plan that called for FAMU to be a bottom tier “comprehensive” university that would focus mainly on teaching undergraduate students. Then-FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries led the fight to create a special “Comprehensive/Doctoral” category that permitted the university to continue pursuing its Ph.D. and research expansion ambitions.

Today, FAMU faces a different threat to its future as a research institution. Humphries, like all university presidents who know how to run a serious research university, understood that FAMU needed tenure in order to compete for the best published professors and grant-writing scientists.

But in a few days, FAMU could have a new president who doesn’t support tenure protection for faculty members. An investigating committee of the American Association of University Professors accused Maupin of effectively eliminating tenure at Meharry Medical College during his presidency at that school. There were also allegations that he used intimidation tactics to pressure faculty members into publicly supporting that overhaul. Maupin currently leads the Morehouse School of Medicine, which does not offer tenure, at all.