Florida A&M University

LHatter / myflorida.com

In the past few years, there have been several high-level vacancies at Florida’s public universities. And in many cases university trustees have expressed dissatisfaction with replacement candidates.

Such was the case at Florida A&M, where, shortly before naming Cornell University’s Elmira Mangum to the post, trustee Karl White complained about Florida’s open record laws:

“This was my 6th presidential, in some form, search. I have to say this one was the  most difficult ... based upon the constraints of the Sunshine Law," he said.

Elmira Mangum
FAMU Office of Communications

For the first time in Florida A & M’s history, a woman will head the university on a permanent basis.

Since 2010, Elmira Mangum, 60, has been at Cornell University, where she helped steer the school through the recession and rein in a nearly $150 million deficit as Vice President of Budget and Finance.  Now, she’s bringing those skills to Florida A&M, which was just freed from accreditation probation stemming in part from bad financial audits. 

Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees has interviewed the two finalists for the school’s presidency. But as the board nears a decision on who gets the job—one issue is left unanswered what to do about interim president Larry Robinson.

Elmira Mangum is Cornell University’s Vice President of Budget. John Price is the former founding president of the University of North Texas-Dallas. Wednesday they discussed why they want to be the FAMU’s next president:

Florida A&M University could name its 11th president this week after a search committee narrowed the field of finalists from four to just two  Monday.

Elmira Mangum, the first of the four initial candidates,  heads Cornell University’s Budget Office. Magnum told trustees  when it comes to university leadership, it is a shared effort:

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Former Senator Al Lawson is reported to be eyeing the presidency at Florida A&M University.

Lawson, 65, is a FAMU alumnus who served more than 10 years in the Florida’s Senate and twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress. He’s also politically well-connected, and would come at a time when FAMU needs a fundraiser and a promoter.

Lawson told the Tampa Bay Times that, “I don’t know anyone who can do that any better than I can,” Lawson said.

Florida A&M University is moving on with its search for a new president, after learning this week that its accreditation remains intact. The university is less than a month away from possibly naming a permanent president, but its interim chief is still on the job for now.

Larry Robinson is the man many involved with Florida A&M University credit for now twice pulling the institution back from the brink. Robinson says the lifting of accreditation probation means the school can now focus on student retention and graduation rates:

Update 3:50 pm: Florida A&M University is no longer on accreditation probation and the lifting of the school’s sanction  means it can continue to operate without much of the uncertainty that had surrounded its future.

LHatter / WFSU News

Florida A&M University’s health center director Tanya Tatum takes her job seriously. So when she read a story about a pregnant student at South Carolina’s Benedict College, her own resolve for the center’s sexual education efforts was strengthened:

LHatter / WFSU News

Though commemorations of the 1963 March on Washington have been ongoing since the weekend, they hit a crescendo Wednesday.

Local officials marked the day with a series of speeches by local officials and guests at Florida A&M University. Holding a copy of the original program for the day, Connie Evans, who was present at the March five decades ago, read from a list of 10 issues that marked the march.

LHatter / WFSU

It’s been nearly two years since the sound of Florida A&M University’s band was last heard. Now the ensemble is back, and  band and university leaders say it’s going to take a lot of work to prove to the world that times have changed.

This time around, FAMU’s Marching 100 band is closer to its official name—with a current roster of 198 musicians. That’s about half the size the band that, in 2011, was placed on suspension following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. Also new is the terminology.  there are no more “drum majors” in the Marching 100.

FAMU Lifts 'Marching 100' Suspension

Jun 27, 2013
LHatter / WFSU

Update 1:32 p.m.

Florida A&M University is lifting the suspension of its famous Marching 100 band. The hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in 2011 led to the band's suspension, along with  the resignations of the university’s former President and band director. But, many say the school is now on the path to recovery.

Florida A & M University’s Marching 100 band is still under an indefinite suspension due to the hazing death of a drum major in 2011. FAMU’s interim president is  still mum on when or if, the band’s suspension will be lifted.

The Fall football season is approaching and FAMU is facing the possibility of a second year without its main halftime attraction. But Interim Florida A & M University President Larry Robinson he’s still evaluating whether  the “right conditions” are in place for the band to return:

The board overseeing Florida’s public universities has okayed a work plan submitted by Florida A&M University. The approval of FAMU’s plan comes a year after the same board scolded the school for its low graduation rates and high student debt.

LHatter / WFSU

In the halls of Florida A&M University’s band room, a lone baritone burbles along. It’s a sound that hasn’t been heard much in the year since FAMU’s Marching band was placed on suspension as a result of the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. Today, the band room is in a state of disarray. Bookshelves, boxes, piano’s parts of instruments and garment bags are strewn about. Equipment manager Donald Beckwith says the department is doing a bit of Spring cleaning.

Florida A&M University is holding off on some fee increases, for now. Trustees voted against bumping up costs for students as Governor Rick Scott is amping up pressure on schools to keep costs down.

University trustees debated for almost two hours on four different fee increases. Hikes for athletics, student activities, capital improvements and a student-green fee were all on the table. But in the end, the board dropped two of them: rejecting a dollar increase for athletics and a 56-cent increase for activities and services.

TampaBay.com and FAMU Athletics

Athletics directors at both Florida A & M and Florida State are out.

FAMU did not renew its contract with Derek Horne, largely because of the continued budget deficit in the athletics program. Horne has been placed on administrative leave with pay until his contract expires at the start of September.

FAMU’s athletics department has been plagued by a $7 million dollar deficit, incurred over several years.

Governor Rick Scott is urging Florida’s public university presidents to hold off on increasing tuition. Scott vetoed an overall 3-percent tuition hike as part of the budget, but there are questions as to whether universities can implement a smaller cost-of-living increase mandated in state law.

UNC

FAMU attorney and interim Title III Compliance Officer Rosalind Fuse-Hall has a new job. President of Bennett College, a private, all-women's school in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The college announced Monday that Fuse-Hall will become the school’s 17th president July 1.

 A graduate of  UNC-Chapel Hill, Fuse-Hall earned her law degree at Rutgers University. She has also worked in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York office.

LHatter / WFSU

Florida A & M University has tapped a former Ohio band director to lead the school’s “Marching 100” band. FAMU, even as the organizations remain under suspension.

Dr. Sylvester Young says it took friends and colleagues calling constantly to get him to apply for the job. The 66-year-old Young had been retired since stepping down from a 25-year stint as Band Director at Ohio University, but says he viewed the FAMU position as the opportunity of a lifetime.

FAMU College of Law

There’s some good news at Florida A&M University.

For the first time since its College of law was re-established in 2000, the the first-time pass rate for Florida Bar exam test takers exceeded the state average.  Twenty-three students took the test in February and 19 passed. At 82.6 percent, the FAMU College of Law beat the state average of 80.2 percent. It also came out ahead of five other law schools in the state.

Florida A&M University will delay its search for a permanent leader until next year. The university board agreed Thursday to resume the search for a new president in January 2014.

The decision means Interim FAMU President Larry Robinson will stay on the job for another school year.

Update 5:25 pm:    Florida A&M University has suspended its search for a new president.  The chairman of the school’s board says it would be  “unfair” to bring in a new president as long as the school is dealing with accreditation problems.

Leon County Jail

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - An attorney for one of the defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major says his client is going to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

FAMU Winning Race Toward Reproducing Sun's Energy

Mar 7, 2013
Thomas Andrew Gustafson

Florida A&M University’s Center for Plasma Science and Technology isn’t focused on collecting solar power but making it. In July 2012 the Center’s fusion reactor reached the first phase toward duplicating what happens on the surface of the sun.

Tony Levell

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors are charging 12 former Florida A&M University band members with manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of a drum major.
 
     Ten of the band members had been charged last May with felony hazing for the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion, but prosecutors said Monday they are raising the charges to manslaughter. They also have charged two additional defendants with manslaughter.
 

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