In an exclusive interview Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Johnny Taylor and TMCF Vice-President of Government Affairs Edith Bartley discuss a trend of public HBCUs being forced to forego presidential searches.
Archives for June 2016
The Times and Democrat covers South Carolina State University President James Clark in his first speech, delivered moments after his appointment by the university’s board of trustees.
Mervyl Melendez, a contemporary coaching icon in historically black college baseball, was yesterday named the head baseball coach at Florida International University.
It is Melendez’ first coaching position at a non-HBCU, where in 17 years primarily spent at his alma mater Bethune-Cookman University, Melendez won 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament championships with the Wildcats.
This year, Melendez led his Alabama State University Hornets baseball program to a 38-win season and an undefeated conference record, the first in SWAC baseball history. From the Montgomery Advertiser:
“This journey started for me many years ago,” Melendez said. “Twenty years ago, I became a baseball coach thinking that one day I’d be here. You start with the idea that you not only want to be successful, but you want to get to a place that you can call home. This is one of the few jobs that I looked at as one day could be mine. One day I could be there. One day I can call FIU home and this day has arrived.”
Virginia Union University officials yesterday announced Joseph Johnson as the school’s acting president.
Dr. Johnson, who previously served as senior vice-president between 2010 and 2012 with responsibility over academic affairs, students affairs, enrollment management, public safety, research and special programs.
A graduate of Fayetteville State University and Virginia State University, Dr. Johnson replaces outgoing president Claude Perkins, who will take a sabbatical for the last year of his contract.
Dr. Johnson will begin his tenure on July 1.
South Carolina State University today named Board of Trustees Vice Chairman James Clark as president. He will replace interim president W. Franklin Evans.
In a statement, Board Chairman Charles Way, who had been rumored to be a candidate for the position, said that time revealed the former Benedict College trustee as the ideal choice to lead the institution.
“James Clark did not seek the job of president,” Way said. “But it became increasingly clear to our board that we had in our midst the ideal individual to lead S.C. State at this critical time. This was a decision made unanimously and with great enthusiasm.”
Critics of the appointment called into question the integrity of the university’s search process. From the Times & Democrat.
After Wednesday’s decision, Rep. Jerry Govan said “We have protocols in place in terms of a search process. Considering the history, why not follow that search process?
“What you have done is create a cloud of suspicion.”
An MIT graduate, Clark has held executive positions at General Electric, Gillette, Exxon, and AT&T.
An official at South Carolina State University has refuted rumors reported in the HBCU Digest about the expected resignation of Interim President W. Franklin Evans, and the appointment of SCSU Board of Trustees Chairman Charles Way.
According to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Dr. Evans has not resigned, and no information has been released about presidential transition, or changes to the university’s existing presidential search.
The statement contradicts information given by sources close to the university’s board of trustees, who last night revealed they expected Way to be named as permanent president during a board teleconference scheduled for this afternoon. An agenda released yesterday afternoon indicates that trustees will meet in executive session to discuss contractual and personnel issues.
Way was appointed to the SCSU board in May 2015 by recently-re-elected Senate President Pro Tempore and Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman, who served as part of the legislative commission to reappoint the university’s full board after its previous members were fired last May.
Sources close to the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees say that W. Franklin Evans will resign as president tomorrow, and will be replaced by current Board Chairman Charles Way as the permanent president.
Sources spoke upon the condition of anonymity, as the decision has not yet been announced to the university community. University officials tonight announced a teleconference meeting scheduled for 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, during which trustees will meet in closed session about contractual and employment matters.
Way is expected to receive a four-year contract.
Embroiled in controversies over leadership, finance and scandal for the last five years, the university has rebounded under Evans and the new board operating under the control of state legislature. After millions in cuts to finances and programs, the university reported a budget surplus in April, and increases in freshmen applications.
But the board and state legislators sparred over the presidential search process, as university executives wanted more autonomy to conduct the search, while lawmakers wanted final approval over the hiring of search firms.
The latest version of North Carolina’s budget proposal include tuition cuts for Elizabeth City State University and promises allocations to cover any revenue shortfalls in the coming year.
The budget, scheduled for vote today in the General Assembly and likely to be forwarded to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory by the end of this week, makes in-state tuition at ECSU, Western Carolina University UNC-Pembroke $500 per semester for in-state students, and $2,500 for out-of-state students.
The budget also includes a “buy down” provision to protect institutions from financial collapse created by the lowered tuition. From the proposal:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State shall “buy down” the amount of any financial obligation resulting from the established tuition rate that may be incurred by Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University as provided by this subsection. Beginning with the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Director of the Budget shall determine each fiscal year, based on information provided by the Board of Governors and the Chancellor of each constituent institution, the amount required to offset the forgone tuition receipts at each of the three institutions as a result of the tuition rate established by this section. The Director of the Budget shall authorize an increase in the base budget of The University of North Carolina of up to forty million dollars ($40,000,000) each fiscal year to cover the cost of the “buy down” that fiscal year and shall allocate the appropriate sum to each constituent institution.”
Reports surfaced over the weekend that another HBCU could have been included in the proposal, but Fayetteville State University and Winston-Salem State University, two schools at the forefront of student and alumni protest against SB873 and its tuition rebate plan, were left out of the final language.
The proposal also recommends a $250,000 marketing campaign to promote enrollment at ECSU, and approves the establishment of 50 merit-based scholarships for students attending North Carolina Central University and North Carolina A&T State University.
The University of Louisiana System has named Grambling State University Vice President of Finance and Administration Leon Sanders as the person in charge of the school’s daily operations.
Sanders replaces former president Willie Larkin, who resigned last week after less than a year in the presidency, and one week after controversy regarding international travel was made public.
In a statement, UL System leaders acknowledged the high turnover rate with the Grambling presidency, and pledged to solve the leadership crisis.
“Grambling State University has experienced an unusual number of leadership changes the past 25 years and the System office, in coordination with the Board, is working with urgency to secure the right leader for this exceptional institution,” Interim UL System President Dan Reneau said.
Since its founding in 1901, Grambling has appointed nine permanent and three interim presidents, with nine leadership changes in the last 39 years and three transitions since 2014.
*An earlier edition of this post described Leon Sanders’ title as acting president. His official title, as described by the UL System, is ‘person in charge.’ The HBCU Digest regrets the error, and has edited the post to reflect the correction.
Florida A&M University alumna Star Swain is one of the most-viewed, non-celebrity HBCU graduates in the world, thanks to her prodigious talent as a singer.
Here is Swain as a member of the Marching 100 performing a vocal accompaniment to the band’s rendition of ‘Order My Steps,’ uploaded to YouTube in 2006.
Ten years, later the Jefferson County Middle-High School Assistant Principal caught national attention for a performance of the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial.
She talked with WFSU in Tallahassee about the experience.
“Everything in my life has a purpose. And this gift, is supposed to be used..to touch the lives of millions, people all other the road. But not just that. It will open the doors for me to use other gifts to encourage and uplift and build. So when I venture out to do other things, I don’t want it be, ‘“but you’re just a singer’. No, I’m a person who sings, who has a gift to sing, but I also have this to offer as well.”