The abrupt halt of Florida A&M’s search for a university president, called by board of trustees Chairman Solomon Badger III on March 15, has spawned controversy.
Narayan Persaud, who was unanimously voted to serve a second term as Faculty Senate President on March 19 committee member, seems to have an answer to which way the university should be heading.
Persaud’s priorities for his second term include making sure guidelines are followed, students are prepared for the labor market and ensuring that the university can do for itself as an institution. H He is aware of increasing scrutiny surrounding FAMU.
“It’s necessary for all, as faculty body, to not be detoured by the negative publicity or reviews but to pull our resources and intellectual capabilities to better serve our students,” said Persaud, a presidential search committee member.
James Muchovej, parliamentarian of the faculty senate, said one problem the university faces is that “we try to protect individuals in leadership positions.”
“This is an opportunity to get the dirty linen out,” Muchovej said. “If we don’t, SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) will find it.”
Persaud is an advocate for the need of a qualified presidential candidate. In his opinion, Badger’s actions to suspend the search did not follow protocol.
“He did it singularly” Persaud said. “Appropriate action would be to allow the process to continue until the final candidate review. If there was not a better candidate than Interim President) Dr.(Larry) Robinson, then the board can make a decision as to what they want to do.”
Bettye Grable, a member of the faculty senate, agrees that all rules and guideline are to be adhered to. “[Badger] stepped outside of his purview as chairman of the Board of Trustees.” Grable said.
With Badger remaining as chairman of the BOT, Persaud feels that future presidential candidates will not be attracted to FAMU.
“He has interrupted [the process],” Persaud said of the BOT chairman and presidential search.
“We cannot give anybody the assurance that the process will be fair and open.”
To date, Persaud has not had communication with Badger or Robinson.
“I do not know what happed to the candidates,” Persaud said.
“I have not heard when the process will happen again.”
Student Government Association President, Michael Jefferson, who has been involved with the process, believes this will be the highlight of discussion at the upcoming board of trustees meeting April 11. “Every trustee is entitled to his or her opinion.” Jefferson said.
“I am confident that the issue will be resolved.”