Florida A&M president speaks after near firing

Elmira Mangum says 'FAMU is moving forward'

Elmira Mangum is Florida A&M University's first female president.
Elmira Mangum is Florida A&M University's first female president.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After surviving two votes to fire her in recent weeks, Florida A&M University President Elmira Mangum told the Capitol Tiger Bay Club on Tuesday that she is confident of her future at the university. In fact, it's the board that tried to fire her that will face major realignment.

Capitol Tiger Bay members presented the Florida A&M University president with a helmet Tuesday.

"And we hope you'll keep your head in the game," the presenter said. 

She was also presented with a whistle, "for just when you need a time out."

Without mentioning her disagreements with her board, President Elmira Mangum spent 30 minutes touting a bright future for her university, including a 3,800-acre agricultural research facility recently transferred from the United States Department of Agriculture.

"We can help to provide solutions to our food safety and security," Mangum said.

Not once did Mangum touch on her near firing and her board's refusal to give her a bonus. That task fell to a former journalist, who asked Mangum if she felt more or less secure in her position.

"OK, I feel extremely secure," Mangum said. "And the reason why is because I'm focused on the institution and its students."

"I didn't beat anybody," Mangum said when asked if she was claiming victory and moving on after she beat the board. "FAMU is moving forward. That's all."

The president may be able to claim victory in her battle with her trustees. Six new members will be appointed in January. Gov. Rick Scott has four board appointments to the trustees. The Board of Governors has two.