Florida Board of Governors Removes FAMU Chair, Creates Guidelines on Presidential Searches

The Florida Board of Governors today removed Florida A&M University Board Chairman Cleve Warren from the board, just hours after releasing a draft proposal of new rules for presidential search guidelines for the state’s public institutions.

Warren’s removal ends a four-year term of service which culminated with his election as chairman last November, following the resignation of former chairman Rufus Montgomery. He told the Florida Times-Union he was disappointed about his removal, after serving for months without a formal reappointment, but supported any decision made with the intent of advancing FAMU.

“If the Board of Governors thinks it’s best for the university, I’m certainly supportive,” Warren said.

Warren was replaced by Florida entrepreneur Harold Mills, president of Florida Citrus Sports, the corporate entity which produces the annual Florida Classic football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University.

FAMU President Elmira Mangum, who reportedly received a critical reaction from trustees regarding her response to performance goals outlined by the board’s evaluation committee, thanked Warren for his service and applauded Mills’ addition.

“I’d like to congratulate new Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Board of Trustees appointee, Harold Mills. As the vice chair and former CEO of ZeroChaos and president of Florida Citrus Sports, Mr. Mills brings to FAMU a wealth of experience and knowledge in the areas of talent and workforce management, economic and market development, and community engagement. I look forward to working with Mr. Mills to achieve the University’s goals and advance its mission.

Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to outgoing Trustee Cleve Warren for his passionate service and commitment to FAMU as a member of the Board and most recently as its chair. Through his work on various committees and his personal endeavors, Mr. Warren has played an integral role in helping to develop and strengthen programs of great value here at FAMU. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board’s newly appointed chair and the entire Board collaboratively with the shared goal of moving FAMU forward.”

The leadership transition overshadowed a BOG proposal to amend presidential searches, with guidelines including:

  • Search committees to include at least one member of the Florida Board of Governors and at least three members of the board of trustees
  • Committee members cannot be direct report employees of the current president
  • Search committees must advance at least two finalists for consideration by a school’s board of trustees
  • President-elect candidates, and their contracts, must be interviewed and confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors prior to a formal appointment offer

The changes were first discussed in 2014, when a presidential search for Florida State University resulted in the departure of a search firm, and the advancement of one candidate, former Florida Senator John Thrasher, as the sole candidate for the position.

In February 2014, trustees sparred over compensation for Mangum, who served as a vice-president at Cornell University prior to her appointment at FAMU.

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