Keep the Box and Ban Mangum





By Commissioner Bill Proctor
Special to the Outlook

FAMU, it is incontrovertibly clear, has become a circus under its ringmaster President Elmira Mangum. The President of FAMU sponsored another side show last week with a press conference announcing a “Ban the Box” campaign.

Was the ringmaster President serious about banning job application screenings for convicted felons who apply for jobs at FAMU? What parent of 16 to 20 year old children will be comfortable sending their son or daughter to a university that refuses to screen the backgrounds of its employees? There are children as young as two years old at the FAMU nursery and from K-12th grade at FAMU DRS.

The press showed up to hear about her new employment initiative for felons. Yet, despite the serious implications of mixing convicted felons with oversight and advisory responsibilities with hundreds of students, she refused to answer any questions.

Instead, she left her own called press conference early. This is not leadership or statesmanship. This is simply sideshow pageantry. Banning the Box will potentially compromise student, faculty and staff safety.

No doubt, if FAMU becomes the employment haven for convicted felons to work, then a new argument will exist for the Florida Legislature to allow students to bring guns on campus. Certainly they should recognize the need for such gun possession at FAMU.

I oppose the Mangum idea to Ban the Box. Among other potential dangers, this policy could compromise the safety and security of vulnerable young people. For instance, earlier this year the University hired a federally convicted felon who had stolen student identification information while working for Auburn University, according to court records. This employee swindled money from students without their knowledge. Though unrelated, his wife received a bonus after both were hired at FAMU this year.
Mangum’s idea is bad policy. Neither FAMU students nor their parents’ confidential data should be accessible to felons convicted previously for student identification theft. Perpetrators of fraud may be acceptable to Mangum in her personal hiring practices, but such practice violates the spirit of current institutional policies that seek to maximize student security, safety and protect with integrity the confidential information of university stakeholders.

Further, why should convicted drug dealers be hired by FAMU and be rewarded with a lucrative captured college market? Sense is not always common, but we deserve better vision from a University President serving FAMU.

Neither the Board of Governors nor the FAMU Board of Trustees can manage or secure accountability from the Mangum Administration. One of these Boards must summons the wherewithal to inform FAMU’s Ringmaster that she cannot unilaterally set employment policy for FAMU. Policy making at FAMU must remain a function of the Board of Trustees. I encourage the BOT to rescind any initiative to “Ban the Box.”

Standards have fallen at FAMU under the Ringmaster President whose circus continues to hobble along with bluster, incompetence and arrogance. The sub mediocre performance of the Rattler football team on Saturday against North Carolina A&T provided a poetic backdrop as the Ringmaster strolled around the infield of Bragg Memorial Stadium throwing candy to fans from a pink Halloween bucket.

On this Halloween evening neither the performance of the football team nor the actions of our Ringmaster President were exemplary. Hiring Elmira Mangum was a trick. Keeping her will not be a treat. How low will we allow our university to sink under a marginal, mediocre, self-serving ringmaster President?

Enough. End the sideshows. Stop the circus. Mangum needs to go! Now.