Staff positions at Florida A&M have been subject to change after the death of drum major Robert Champion and the university’s need of new leadership.
Students were not allowed to join any organizations last semester and the Marching “100” is still suspended.
FAMU has seen many positions open and filled, beginning with former band director Julian White being placed on administrative leave and eventually retiring.
“In some cases, vacancies surfaced. In other situations, there were planned retirements and in yet other cases, there were mandated changes in leadership,” said Sharon Saunders, FAMU chief communications officer.
This summer offered the most drastic changes to FAMU’s executive staff. Former President James H. Ammons resigned July 11 after an 8-4 vote of “no-confidence” from the board of trustees.
Soon after Ammons stepped down, then-Provost Larry Robinson stepped in as interim president.
On Oct. 1, Robinson implemented several administrative changes.
Ora Mukes, former environmental science institute coordinator, joined Robinson in the Office of the President as his executive assistant, coordinating all administrative functions of the office.
Also, Rosalind Fuse-Hall, Ammons’ former chief of staff, has transitioned to interim director of Title III programs and special assistant. Fuse-Hall said not much could be said about the shaping of Robinson’s staff until it is complete.
Robinson also hired six interim deans and eight new permanent deans of colleges. Patricia Greene-Powell replaced Genniver C. Bell as dean of the College of Education. Maurice Edington is the interim dean of the College of Science and Technology. Ann L. Wead Kimbrough is dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.
“We have a confident team, and they have interim by their title,” Robinson said. “But they’re not interim meaning ‘new.’ They are capable to implement their jobs very well.”
While Elizabeth Davenport, president of the FAMU chapter of United Faculty of Florida, said this creates instability in the administration, Robinson said the modifications are necessary to build a staff that will set up the university for success.
“I’m just trying to identify the needs of the university,” Robinson said. “I will be making some changes to my staff in order for us to be effective.”
Though Robinson is working to put the right people in key positions, he does not want to become FAMU’s next president.
Still in need of a replacement, officials created the Presidential Search Committee, a group of select faculty and BOT members who conduct the search for the next president.
“The university received nearly 60 applications,” Saunders said. “We hope to fill this position by the end of this fall semester.”
The Presidential Search Committee is one of the many search committees created during the aftermath of Champion’s death. The Search Committee for Special Assistant to the President for Anti-Hazing, the Anti-Hazing Committee and the Search Committee for Director of Marching and Pep Bands, headed by Interim Provost Rodner Wright, are a result of last November’s tragedy.