Presidential position turned down by Lewis

Henry Lewis III said he does not want to be considered for the permanent position of presidency at Florida A&M University and the board of trustees has made it very clear that he would not be the permanent president even if he wanted to.

“The policy stands,” said William Jennings, board of trustee and presidential search chair. Jennings said in a search committee meeting Wednesday the board couldn’t change its policy. “It’s a matter of fairness,” he said.

Jennings and the rest of the trustees are aware of the 5,000 plus petitions that have been signed by students asking for Lewis to remain as permanent president. Despite all of the students’ petitions, the board has made its decision.

Andrew Gillum, student government president and trustee, was told by Jennings at the Feb. 11 full board meeting to present the petitions to presidential search committee on Wednesday.

And he did, even after Jennings initially tried to tell him to present them to the following full board meeting. Gillum responded by saying “if we move this item, the issue would still be outstanding.” “The students galvanized the thought that the policy should be changed,” Gillum said to the committee. “I support the petitions and the reversal of this policy.”

Jennings said he thought the issue was irrelevant since Lewis said he was no longer interested. But Gillum said, “Despite the policy and the fact that Lewis said what he said, the committee should vote for overturning the policy.” The committee vote was 3-2 against the overturn of the policy. Randall Hanna, and vice chair, Marta Prado and Jennings were against the overturn. Norma White, trustee and Gillum were for it.

Prado said, “isn’t this a waste of my time,” after stating that the board initially voted on it to make it a policy.

Hanna said the students’ petitions meant something to him, but “I saw no reason to change the policy.” Like Jennings, he said candidates were reluctant to apply because of the uncertainty of Lewis’ position.

“Potential candidates are saying, ‘I don’t want to put my name in the hat unless it’s a done deal,” Jennings said. “Some candidates are waiting to see if we are going to resend or reaffirm the policy. Once we take care of that, then we’ll have more candidates,” he added.

Jennings said the search committee would start interviewing the 11 candidates March 25.

Side Bar – Current Candidates

Dr. Fred Gainous

Chancellor, The Alabama College System

Department of Postsecondary Education

Montgomery, Alabama

Dr. William Harris

Former President, Alabama State University

Montgomery, Alabama

Dr. Charles Nelms

Vice President for Student Development and Diversity Professor of Higher Education Administration

Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Dr. Bobby Phills

Dean, College of Engineering, Sciences, Technology and Agriculture

Florida A&M University

Tallahassee, Florida

Dr. Georgia Ross

Executive Vice President

Clark Atlanta University

Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Melvin Stith

Dean, College of Business

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Dr. Arthur Washington

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Florida A&M University

Tallahassee, Florida

Dr. David Wilson

Associate Vice Provost and Vice President

University Outreach Programs

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Mr. Raymond Burse

Former President, Kentucky State University

Frankfort, Kentucky

Dr. David Carter

President, Eastern Connecticut State University

Willimantic, Connecticut

Dr. Anna Vaughn-Cooke

Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Research

Florida A&M University

Tallahassee, Florida