The board gave Interim President Castell Bryant a new two-year contract at their last board meeting following the disclosure of her positive performance evaluation. Bryant’s charter states that she is not eligible for a permanent presidency.
As a rule, interim presidents are not allowed to apply for a permanent position.
Student Government President Ramon Alexander said that the clause helps to ensure that qualified candidates will apply for a permanent position.
“If you have an interim president in a pool of candidates, it is hard to get high quality candidates to apply,” he said.
SGA Vice President Phillip Agnew said that the rule was also in place to limit the pool to people who haven’t been in the office in the past.
“The interim president cannot become the permanent president because they would have an upper hand over other candidates,” he said.
Alexander said that the issue of an interim president assuming a permanent position came up before in the case of Henry Lewis in 2002. Lewis was the interim president before Fred Gainous.
Alexander said he believes that once Bryant has fulfilled her responsibilities and addressed the problems the University faces a replacement should be selected.
“That person needs to move forward and take the University to the next level,” he said.
Bryant’s evaluation by the board was positive and praised her service.
Trustee Pamela Duncan said she thought that Bryant did very well.
“I think it’s reflective of a good year with Bryant at the helm. She was faced with serious challenges and she did very well,” she said.
Alexander also praised Bryant’s service to the University.
“Dr. Bryant is doing an excellent job. There are a lot of things she’s working to stabilize. I look forward to working with her in the future,” he said.
Ja’won Barber, a general studies major from Jacksonville, was critical of Bryant’s presidency at FAMU.
“She doesn’t do anything about other people’s concerns,” the 20-year-old freshman said.
Regarding Bryant’s performance board members said that, “She is a true leader and has done an excellent job,” and that she, “Faces problems with confidence and assurance and is willing to challenge conventional wisdom.”
Twelve board members approved of her overall performance, with one disapproving.
Concerning her budget and fiscal management, trustees said, “She has finally put fiscal accountability back in FAMU,” and, “We’re in the black!” All the board members approved of her service in this area.
Trustees were not as confident of her student services. Comments included, “This is where there is the most opportunity for development,” and “This is needs to be a new focus.”
Not all trustees were pleased with her handling of internal stakeholder relationships. One trustee stated that, “Further focus on relationships with its students and faculty is recommended,” but another noted that it is, “Difficult to please everyone.”
A presidential search committee was formed at the October meeting of the board.
They are expected to report on their findings at the March meeting of the board.
Contact Mackenzie Turberville at Mackenzieis@earthlink.net