TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Following an unsatisfactory performance evaluation, trustees at the historically black Florida A&M University voted 7-5 against extending the president’s contract for a year.
The contract is set to expire in April, but what happens next is anything but clear.
Enrollment at FAMU has dropped by more than 3,000 students since the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. The death, a cage in focus on recruitment, and the ongoing turmoil between the board and president, are the reasons behind the enrollment drop.
A board evaluation of President Elmira Mangum’s performance was less than satisfactory, especially when communicating with the board.
“The majority of us have the same opinion that this relationship is not working,” FAMU trustee Robert L. Woody said.
The evaluation drew her ire.
“I don’t know what the definition of organizational management is,” Mangum said.
A series of confusing motions followed. Trustees finally voted on extending her contract for a year, requiring executive leadership training.
After that failed, a motion was made to start the search for a new president, but then it was withdrawn.
While it leaves the leadership of FAMU in limbo, afterward, the embattled president was in no mood to talk.
”It appears they have backed down from the idea of wanting to find a new president to trying to negotiate with you one more time,” reporter Mike Vasilinda said to Mangum.
“I didn’t hear that,” she replied.
“You didn’t hear that? So you’re out the door, then?” Vasilinda asked.
"I think that’s what was said,” Mangum said.
“How can she be effective while in limbo like this?” Vasilinda asked FAMU trustee Matthew Carter.
“I don’t think she can be (effective),” he said.
FAMU trustee chair Kelvin Lawson said he isn’t ready to declare the divorce final yet.
“Let’s organize this committee," Lawson said. "Let’s enter into negotiations, and let’s see where we net out in September. Right now, I still go back to all the options are on the table."
The board will meet again in September. Between now and then, it will try to reopen negotiations with the president.