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BOG Says It's Looking Into Claim FAMU BOT Chairman Is 'Targeting' President Mangum

FAMU President Elmira Mangum and FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Rufus Montgomery
Florida A&M University/

The Florida Board of Governors is reviewing claims against Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees. Some lawmakers and alumni are questioning how much say the university’s board should have in the day-to-day operations of the school.

FAMU Trustee Chairman Rufus Montgomery has clashed several times with President Elmira Mangum. The latest butting of heads occurred last week—when Montgomery criticized Mangum for what he perceives as a lack of communication between her administration and university trustees. He also expressed concerns about the President’s hiring decisions. But some alumni believe Montgomery’s treatment of Mangum has gone too far. In a letter to the university system governing board, five lawmakers who are also FAMU alumni say Montgomery has been quote, “targeting” Mangum and believe his behavior boarders on bullying.

Since her name was first advanced as a leading candidate for FAMU president, and, subsequently, after her historic selection,  Dr. Elmira Mangum has been a frequent target of FAMU BOT Chairman Rufus Montgomery, whose abrupt and ongoing challenges to her leadership are bordering dangerously close to bullying," wrote Sens. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa), Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), and Reps. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville), Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) and Bobby Powell (D-Riveira Beach).

"Unfortunately, his actions recently intensified at a meeting of the Board last week, leading to spurious demands we believe are unwarranted and detrimental to the effective operation of the university as a whole."

Now the Florida Board of Governors says it’s looking into those claims.  Board of Governors Chairman Mori Housseini says state university system officials will be speaking with Mangum’s administration as well as the school’s board of trustees.

FAMU BOT Chairman Rufus Montgomery recently told the Tallahassee Democrat he was surprised by the letter and the response to what he views as valid criticism of decisions being made without board input.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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