Florida A&M University has moved a step closer to splitting with its President. A special committee has approved a deal with Elmira Mangum that, if accepted by the full board, will lead to Mangum stepping down Thursday.
FAMU's Committee on Presidential Leadership has agreed to a legal path that is pointing to the end of the line for university President Elmira Mangum. The school will pay Mangum $6,500 for attorney fees, along with $7,500 for her to leave the President’s House in 30 days.
The committee approved a deal Wednesday with interim FAMU Student Body President Jaylen Smith casting the lone "no" vote.
If the full board approves the deal, Mangum will step down immediately, paving the way for an interim president to be named. A traditional succession plan allows for the school’s provost to take over, but Chairman Kelvin Lawson suggests that may not be the case this time:
“There are two ways forward," he said. "There’s the written succession for power, or we can appoint an interim. Per trustee (Thomas) Dortch’s suggestion, we could go either way.”
Marcella David is the provost. And she's had her own problems with the school's faculty who have expressed dissatisfaction with both David's and Mangum's leadership.
Mangum has been at odds with trustees almost from the start of her presidency. She accused former Board Chairman Rufus Montgomery of bullying after repeated criticism. The two ultimately refused to meet without attorney president. Board members have cited her for what they say is a lack of transparency and communication from her administration. Mangum has also been criticized for her hires: one with a felony criminal record, the failed tenure of the school’s former athletics director who angered students, and a general counsel who wasn’t licensed to practice in Florida t the time she was hired. There’s still anger over Mangum’s decision to hand over financial oversight of the FAMU-Florida State College of Engineering to FSU. Mangum, though has defended herself. During the committee’s last meeting, Mangum said she is not inclined to resign willingly:
“Whether it’s me being on administrative leave or something, it’s never been my intent to resign my position of president.”
FAMU’s new board is hoping for an amicable split. The last time the board failed to reach a separation, students marched in protest. A final decision comes today. Mangum could be gone from the presidency, but she still has the option to take a tenured professor position at the school where she’d be paid 90 percent of her presidential salary in the first year.