Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gamble hiring leads to more FAMU trustee questions about non-advertised positions

On Wednesday, FAMU trustees raised more questions about jobs that are filled without advertisement after receiving an update on the review of the hiring process that led to the employment of Santoras “Dee” Gamble.

Gamble pleaded guilty to the felony charge of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in 2010 and received three years of probation. He was also required to pay a restitution amount of more than $122,000. Last year, FAMU Vice-President for Communications and External Relations Jimmy Miller hired Gamble to a $75,000 “special assistant” job.

The inspector general of the Florida Board of Governors asked the university in a September 9 email: “Has there been any review of this matter to confirm that FAMU followed the background and hiring process in hiring Gamble? If so, what was the result?”

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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

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

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 FAMU.edu 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.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Warren’s silence on Mangum’s slights toward state GOP officials sends message

Florida A&M University receives its annual appropriations from a legislature that has a Republican majority. The relationship between the FAMU president’s office and the state GOP leadership went downhill during Elmira Mangum’s first year at the university and is continuing its steady decline. But current FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Chairman Cleve Warren has shown no signs of caring.

Back when the BOT voted to hire Mangum in 2014, Rattler Nation wrote about how FAMU presidents have faced tough challenges ever since the Republicans gained control of the legislature and governorship in the 1990s.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Rattlers make case for new Student Affairs Building during FAMU Day at the Capitol

FAMU Foote-Hilyer Administration Center
On Thursday, Rattler students, faculty, alumni, and administrators lobbied state officials during FAMU Day at the Capitol. One priority on the 2016 Legislative Budget Request is $26.5M for a new Student Affairs Building.

According to the FAMU Office of Governmental Relations: “Last year, the Legislature provided $6,155,000 of PECO funds to finance the planning and design of a new Student Affairs Building. PECO funding is being requested for the construction of a new Student Affairs Building that will enable the University to consolidate the delivery of essential student services, thereby helping to improve customer service and our performance under the Board of Governor's Performance Funding Model.”

Friday, February 05, 2016

Mangum rushes from DC to Florida capitol after news story about “snubbing lawmakers”

FAMU President Elmira Mangum has struggled with media relations since 2015. She has also had trouble working with Gov. Rick Scott throughout her entire presidency. Now, she might have burned bridges with a number of GOP lawmakers.

This week, there was a news report that suggested Mangum offended some of the Florida legislators who will soon decide the university’s 2016-2017 budget appropriations.

On Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that Mangum had chosen to skip FAMU Day at the Capitol scheduled for Thursday, February 4 in order to participate in a set of events in Washington, DC. One was the White House National Prayer Breakfast, which U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, had invited her to attend as his guest.

FAMU National Alumni Association President Gregory L. Clark addressed the issue in a post on his Facebook page that was widely circled among FAMUans.

“The date of FAMU Day at the Capitol is set by the university,” Clark wrote.