Florida A&M University’s National Alumni Association president insists that the future of the institution will be largely determined by the number of alumni who will serve on its board of trustees.
FAMU NAA President Lt. Col. Gregory Clark said that a recent editorial he wrote in the Tallahassee Democrat endorsing the appointment of acting board chairman Kelvin Lawson as the permanent appointee was not a commentary on the status of university president Elmira Mangum, but rather, an appeal for more alumni representation on the board. From the Democrat:
“He’s the longest serving trustee we have,” Clark said Tuesday night. “Having a trustee who’s been there a while will add some stability to the board. I think it’s important to look at the makeup of the board. If Kelvin is not retained, the governor might not put another FAMU alum on the board.”
Lawson has been among Mangum’s most public critics, last year making a motion for her firing during an October board meeting following allegations of improper spending on renovations for her home, and long-standing communication issues between her office and the board.
Along with Lawson, FAMU Faculty Senate President Bettye Grable, recent appointee Craig Reed and FAMU Student Government Association Interim President Jaylen Smith are the only FAMU student or alumni representation on the 13-member board.
The concern about alumni representation attracted headlines earlier this year with the resignation of former trustee Spurgeon McWilliams and the departure of Karl White, whose term of service ended. From WCTV:
A 2010 survey from the Association of Governing Boards shows that among public institutions, approximately half the members (5.9, on average) of public governing boards were alumni of the institution they served. The average number of alumni serving on a governing board varied by type of institution: 1.4 for associate’s, 2.9 for baccalaureate, 5.2 for master’s, 7.5 for doctoral and research, and 7.3 for systems.
Last week, FAMU alumni donated more than $715,000 in support of the university’s scholarship fund, during its annual alumni convention in Tampa.