VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN FAMU'S GOVERNANCE
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Dear Governor DeSantis, Chancellor Criser and Members of the Florida Board of Governors:
We, the Concerned Alumni of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), are disturbed about the Crisis in Leadership at our beloved Alma Mater. We strongly issue a vote of no-confidence for the entire governance structure of FAMU for misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance of duties as the fiduciary custodians of the institution. We demand the following:
- Resignation of the FAMU Board of Trustees Chair Kelvin Lawson, and all members of the FAMU Board of Trustees that were in place during the audit period (Vice Chair Kimberly Moore, Matthew M. Carter II, Thomas W. Dortch, Jr, David Lawrence Jr., Harold Mills, Belvin Perry, Jr., Craig Reed, Nicole Washington & Robert L. Woody);
- Resignation of President Dr. Larry Robinson and a true national search for a permanent president; and
- Resignation of Athletic Director John Eason and a national search for a permanent athletic director.
These individuals should immediately resign or be forcibly removed from their appointed positions by Governor Desantis and the Florida Board of Governors.
By definition, trustees are the custodians of the integrity of a university; they hold in trust the institution's reputation as created by its founders, and as developed by those who have shaped the university in the past. It is clear that each of the above leaders have failed FAMU in its primary obligation. As Alumni, we can no longer remain silent about the calamity that is tearing away at the fabric of the State University System of Florida’s only public Historically Black College and University. We also note the “silence” of the leadership of the FAMU National Alumni Association on the issues that plague the university.
We, the Concerned Alumni of FAMU, are also deeply disturbed by the implications of the recent audit on FAMU’s Accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The lack of transparency and institutional control cited in the audit has the real potential to have FAMU placed on accreditation warning or probation by SACSCOC. We are also concerned about the possibility that the NCAA may also investigate FAMU’s practice of covering athletic deficits while we are already on probation for a lack of institutional control and compliance. Further sanctions by the NCAA could potentially bring the death penalty to FAMU Athletics.
While every other institution in the state of Florida is moving toward preeminence, FAMU is moving backwards into the abyss of institutional dysfunction. It would be blatantly racist and discriminatory for the Florida Board of Governors to allow this situation to continue to detrimentally impact the University. FAMU needs new leadership, a new focus, and a new direction. FAMU needs to get rid of the corruption and politics of the past. If the current leadership is kept in place, it will be tantamount to what Maryland has done to systematically eradicate and disenfranchise HBCUs in that state. We, the Concerned Alumni of FAMU, will sue the State of Florida, the Florida Board of Governors, the FAMU Board of Trustees and everyone that is complicit in the deliberate destruction and demise of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
The recent audit that was completed to investigate the improper use of auxiliary funds at FAMU does not merely show that almost $3 Million dollars was improperly transferred to cover a deficit in athletics. Instead, it shows a complete failure of leadership at every level. The report shows that not only did the University lack institutional controls but also the inability of the University leadership to follow sound financial business practices in budgeting, procurement, resource management and human resources management. The report further shows that FAMU’s governing entities refuse to follow the laws, rules and regulations of the State of Florida and Florida Board of Governors. This report reveals what we have known for a very long time: A culture of corruption that starts at the top in Chairman Kelvin Lawson and President Larry Robinson, and seeps its way down into the entire administrative structure of the University. The current University leaders lack transparency, ethics and accountability.
While the report is clear that FAMU lacks sound governance, it is only one of the many recent indications that there is a crisis of leadership at the University. These include the following:
- FAMU currently has incompetent and inept leadership starting at the top with President Larry Robinson and FAMU BOT Chairman Kelvin Lawson. FAMU’s leadership has failed to maintain adequate institutional controls, and the university continues to have a culture of corruption that lacks ethics, accountability and transparency.
- Former FAMU VP files whistle-blower lawsuit, says he was pressured to hire trustees' friends
- FAMU Officials Leave School After Funds Misused
- Wanda Ford, FAMU's CFO and vice president for administration, resigns effective immediately
- NCAA hammers Florida A&M for 'lack of institutional control' over several years
- Fallout from NCAA probation, self-imposed athletics ban ignites firestorm at FAMU
- Florida A&M ousts director of medical marijuana project Peter Harris, appoints Patricia Green-Powell
- FAMU continues to perpetrate a culture that is adverse to dealing with sexual assaults on campus, and this culture has led to multiple lawsuits against the university.
- Former student sues FAMU over alleged mishandling of three rapes
- FAMU Law Student Alleges Sexual Assault by Admissions Officer
- Student sues FAMU after alleging sexual harassment, assault by admissions coordinator
- Attorneys ask legislators to investigate FAMU's legal tactics in rape allegation
- FAMU Fights To Out Alleged Rape Victim in Court
- #MeToo movement founder leaves during wrap-up of FAMU talk after disagreement with employee
- FAMU’s Athletic Director, John Eason, has led the FAMU Department of Athletics into continued deficits and personnel departures due to his inept and ineffective leadership. He has failed to articulate a strategic plan for the department, and this has led to a lack of fiscal responsibility, a lack of leadership, a lack of transparency, a lack of communication, a failure to provide adequate support to FAMU’s athletic programs, and a high personnel turnover rate. FAMU Athletic Director, John Eason, has destroyed the once lucrative “Investing in Champions” fundraising program that brought in almost $1 Million to FAMU athletics annually, by trying to bring the program back under the corrupt Rattler Boosters Club and reducing benefits to stakeholders. It should also be noted that the athletic director, John Eason, was put in place without a National Search or stakeholder input. This recommendation was made by FAMU BOT Board Chair Kelvin Lawson and implemented by Dr. Larry Robinson.
- NCAA puts Florida A&M on probation, bans its football, basketball teams and four others from postseason
- FAMU applies self-imposed postseason ban after NCAA cites 'lack of institutional control’
- FAMU director of track and field Darlene Moore resigns
- FAMU track and field athletes saddened, shocked by Moore's resignation
- FAMU athletics 'budget gap' of $400,000 discussed at Board of Trustees meeting
- FAMU has plan to cover ‘unexpected expenses’ in this year's athletics budget
- FAMU finds money being improperly added to cover athletics budget
Thus, we ask for ethical, accountable and transparent leadership at FAMU. We will not be satisfied until all the actors that have led to this culture of corruption and lack of institutional control either resign or are removed from their positions.
With Head, Heart, Hand & Field,
THE CONCERNED ALUMNI OF FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL & MECHANICAL UNIVERSITY
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