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FAMU Board of Trustees face controversy over president

2 trustees vote to fire President Elmira Magnum

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University President Elmira Magnum refused to answer questions Thursday after her Board of Trustees took two failed votes to fire her a week ago. One high-profile alum thinks those who wanted to fire the president should step down.

After the failed votes to oust the president, the chair of the FAMU trustees resigned his chairmanship. He remains on the board until his term expires in January next year.

Mangum was chosen as FAMU's first female president in January 2014.

Mangum has been quiet since the university's Board of Trustees took two failed votes to fire her last week. But FAMU graduate and Sen. Arthenia Joyner is now calling on the trustees who voted to oust Mangum to themselves step down.

"She's still the president," Joyner said. "It's obvious that there are some problems here."

While Mangum gets high marks for handling the finances, many said her problem is that she doesn't schmooze and doesn't play the political game.

Marjorie Turnbull was on the search committee the recommended the new president.

"We knew that there were board members, even from the first day she came on board, who were opposed to her selection and were not in favor of her continuation," Turnbull said.

Now the university is at a crossroads. One trustee resigned from the board this week. Five others' terms run out at the end of the year. A sixth trustee is still serving after his term expired. All of which means the governor and FAMU Board of Governors can reshape the troubled governance at the university.

"I want to make sure that when you finish you are prepared or have a job, and that's what I want all the trustees to focus on," Gov. Rick Scott said.

But former Trustee Turnbull cautions a new board could be worse than the current one if the appointments become political.

"Then you may see more of the same," Turnbull said.

The current trustees meet again in November.