After the resignation of President Frederick Humphries, the FAMU Board of Trustees began interviewing candidates for the permanent position of FAMU’s president. Originally, the board of trustees said it would have a permanent president by the beginning of March.
However, less than a week away from the month of April, the interviewing process has just begun. When formed last summer the board made choosing a permanent president its “top priority”.
Since then, it has rushed the process by choosing candidates that are unfitting for FAMU, and setting deadlines that it could not keep.
The board sought public input about the choosing of the future permanent president of FAMU. Naturally, it needed someone with good management skills, and someone with the ability to recruit more of the best black scholars in the nation.
Humphries was a genius at the latter, but forgivable on the former.
While the board guaranteed a permanent president by March, it also had to deal with the confusion as to whether Interim President Henry Lewis III could be considered a candidate for the permanent position.
This brought the presidential selection process almost to a halt.
After Lewis released a statement saying he was neither a candidate nor would he like to be considered a candidate, the issue was closed.
The board of trustees continued to look for a candidate with the right qualifications.
“I’m looking for someone with vision and excitement and the skills necessary to lead the university,” said Randy Hanna, one of the six members on the search committee.
The board of trustees had the opportunity this week to get better acquainted with the presidential candidates.
Among the original list of candidates were people who included their names, former presidency positions at universities around the nation, but their qualifications for running a historically black university were minimal.
The 11 current candidates all seem to be more than qualified for the position, and possess qualities that FAMU needs.
Those interviewed this week are of deans of colleges, former and current university presidents, people in administration and people focusing on student development.
Also, more than half of the previous candidates were not African-American.
FAMU is a historically black university. Having a president that is not black would be inappropriate.
However, those on the list of current candidates are all black and all qualified.
Patience pays off.
Rushing the presidential process for FAMU got the board of trustees nothing but a long list of unqualified candidates who just wanted to be president of some university.
These same candidates had hardly any experience leading a bustling historically black university.
Now, after looking at its unreasonable deadline and the appointment of a solid interim president, hopefully the board can exercise some patience to lead this university to it’s ultimate potential.
-Antione Davis for the Editorial Board.