It has been eight days since the University’s Board of Trustees met and decided to call for a change in leadership.
Trustee Challis Lowe motioned to remove University President Fred Gainous from office at the Sept. 28 meeting. After being seconded, the ball for Gainous’ removal began to roll.
The board decided that in order for Gainous to remain as University president, there would have to be a unanimous vote in December among the trustees to keep him. December is also the month of Gainous’ next evaluation.
Two days after the meeting, Gainous responded to the events of the BOT meeting in an interview, which is where he denied he was a “puppet” for Gov. Jeb Bush, professed his love for FAMU and commented on what he could do between the Sept. 30 date of the interview and Jan. 1, 2005 to salvage his job.
“(The position of president) is an awfully difficult job without those restrictions,” Gainous said. “My family and I will make the decision over the next several days about the next 90 days between now and Jan. 1.”
An online petition to oust Gainous began to circulate at the beginning of this semester. The petition, which spawned controversy because names of University and Student Government Association officials appeared on it without their consent, said Gainous was not correctly fulfilling his term as the University’s president.
The petition has recently been removed from the Internet, which Gainous said is a result of it being “utterly meaningless” and “an absolute waste of time and a distraction and a disservice to this University.”
Gainous called the petition “inappropriate.”
“It was unfair,” Gainous said. “If you’re going to give an opportunity for one side, you should give an opportunity for the other side. That’s what polling really does.”
When referring back to the meeting, a question that has remained on the minds of spectators is why Gainous was so quietduring last week’s FAMU BOT meeting as he sat with the trustees.
“Well, I don’t know if quiet is appropriate,” Gainous said. “I was asked one question. That’s all I was offered an opportunity for, and it’s all that I took advantage of.”
Gainous said in a previous interview, he is not a confrontational person but described himself as a “loyal person.” He again denied he was a puppet for Gov. Bush, which has been something he has been accused of since his tenure began at FAMU.
“I am not a puppet for Gov. Bush,” Gainous said. “Gov. Bush does not call me. Gov. Bush does not give me instructions.”
Gainous would not respond to an audit, which criticized his job as president.
“I will say that that’s a process audit. That there was nothing new in that audit,” he said.
In the audit, which is “for the period of Jan. 1, 2003, through Dec. 21, 2003, and selected transactions through June 30, 2004,” Gainous is accused of terminating staff “that previously prepared the financial statements without providing adequate knowledge transfer and training to the new financial preparers.” Among the total of 16 findings the audit found, the summary states “vendors were not always paid in a timely manner” and “the University administers a scholarship program in which there is inadequate monitoring of the number of students awarded.”
Gainous said in terms of the various protests against his position as president and allegations he is not doing a satisfactory job, many of the claims are false.
“A lot of it is just absolutely not true and there are some misinterpretations and there’s some things that are true,” he said. “Those things are undone. Those things will be undone by the next administration, unless they have the resources to do them.”
For an example, Gainous said the University cannot afford the multi-purpose teaching gymnasium. The estimated cost is $27 million, but he said the University only has $12 million worth of resources.
Only time will tell how much longer Gainous will be president of the University. At the BOT meeting, trustees continued to reiterate that a miracle would have to occur for him to keep his job when Jan. 1 has arrived.
When asked what Jan. 1, 2005, meant to him, Gainous simply replied, “the first day of the new year.”
Gainous said the first thing that comes to his mind when the words “Tuesday, Sept. 28, board of trustee meeting,” he simply responds, “It’s over.”
However, Gainous’ job as president is not quite over. The board will vote in December on whether to keep Gainous as president. However, if he is removed from his office, Gainous said although it is not for him to decide, he knows who he would choose to be his successor.
“Well, the way some people are talking about miracles, I suspect it would have to be God,” he said.
Contact Rachael Shackelford at email@example.com.