The dismissal of FAMU’s Vice President of Development, which came shortly after the departure of former President Fred Gainous, came as a surprise to many.
Love Collins III was hired by Gainous after serving as vice president of advanced development at Howard University. He was removed from FAMU by Interim President Castell Bryant Feb. 1.
Collins was responsible for acquiring and organizing funds for the Capital Campaign, a $251 million fund-raising project aimed at providing scholarship support and University advancements. Money for the venture has been brought in from private sponsors, alumni and other FAMU supporters.
According to FAMU Board of Trustees member Randy Hanna, Collins was responsible for raising nearly $41 million towards the $251 million goal.
However, there seems to be confusion between Bryant and several trustees over whether the Capital Campaign will continue with the departure of Collins.
“We’re not going to run a Capital Campaign. Therefore we do not need someone in charge of one,” Bryant said.
BOT Chairman James Corbin said the board actually never approved the Capital Campaign.
Several trustees, however, have stressed the importance of the campaign for the University and the students.
“The Capital Campaign is critical for (FAMU’s) survival,” Trustee Barney Bishop said.
The money that Collins was credited with raising has made him a respected figure for many at the University, making Bryant’s decision questionable in the eyes of his supporters.
“I don’t think it’s a positive step. I think it’s a mistake because of the finances he raised for the University,” Bishop said.
Other University leaders, on the other hand, stand behind Bryant’s decision and respect her reasoning for make it.
“I just think it was a call that the president felt she had to make. And she made it,” Corbin said.
Hanna, who will not be returning to the board after this year because of personal obligations, said he respects the position of the president and realizes that the BOT is not responsible for hiring and firing administrators.
In the past, Henry Lewis, who served as interim president during the search for former president Frederick Humphries’ replacement, did not fill any vacant positions while in office. Bryant said she is aware of the sensitivity attached with an interim president appointing leaders who will outlast them.
“Remember, I’m an interim. So I’m very conscious of appointing regular positions,” Bryant explained.
SGA President and Trustee Virgil Miller agreed. Miller said he wants such appointments to be made under a stable administration.
“The permanent replacement should not be named with the permanent president is named,” Miller said.
In light of the public display of the University’s difficulties and Collins’ dismissal, administrators are aware of the affect such struggles can have on the image of FAMU and campus morale.
“Change in any organization is always painful and that’s what we’ve been having for the last few months,” Hanna said.
With major leaders leaving the University, the strength of FAMU and the unity of the student body have been promoted more than ever.
“Love Collins is not the University. There’s no one person who is the University. And in the end, through all our trials, we’re still here,” Corbin said.
Contact Steven Jumper at firstname.lastname@example.org