Bishop leaves trustee position

Barney Bishop, one of the members of Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees, recently asked Gov. Jeb Bush not to re-appoint him to the board next year.

Bishop, whose term ends Jan. 6, 2006, has been on the board since Jan. 7, 2003.

His decision to leave the board stems from various factors. He said that someone else needs the opportunity to work on the board.

Bishop said he is very proud to have served on the board because he has meet a lot of good people.

But the board needs people who can think and ask tough questions, Bishop said. He said that being the lone voice on issues “wears on you a little bit.”

New board members should ask tough questions and look at things in a different way, Bishop said. He believes they should not “go along to get along.”

“It is not a popularity contest,” Bishop said.

Bishop, who has worked on the board for two years, said his impending term expiration is one of the reasons why he is leaving.

Another factor was Florida Senate President Tom Lee’s stand against lobbyists sitting on any University’s board of trustees.

Bishop said Lee had a strong impact on his decision.

There are two other lobbyists on the Board of Trustees: Alberto Cardenas and David Griffin.

Bishop said he cannot say what Cardenas or Griffin plan to do when their terms come to an end.

LaNedra Carroll, spokesperson for Florida A&M University and director of public affairs, said it was known that Bishop would be leaving his post because his term was coming to a close. She also mentioned four other trustees whose terms are coming to a close: Rev. R. B. Holmes Jr., Pamela Duncan, Laura Branker and Chairwoman Challis Lowe.

Bishop’s experiences on the board during the last two years have not always been positive.

In September 2004, the Tallahassee Inter-Denominational Ministerial Alliance asked for Bishop to be removed from the board, according to an article written in The Famuan.

During the ousting of President Fred Gainous, Bishop was accused of showing more loyalty to Gainous than the University.

The Rev. Joseph Wright, national chaplain of the FAMU National Alumni Association, Inc., represented the Tallahassee Inter-Denominational Ministerial Alliance when urging Gov. Bush to remove Bishop from the Board of Trustees.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank Trustee Barney Bishop for the time he has served on the (board) and the contributions that he has made,” Wright said. “We certainly don’t want to diminish any contributions he has done.”

Wright, pastor of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, said the Board of Trustees needs positive-thinking people and the University must move on.

He said FAMU needs people who will maintain the vision of “our HBCU.”

“We are hoping that the governor in his future appointments will appoint people who really have FAMU’s best interest at heart.” Wright said. “The Barney Bishop era is over, and we wish him well in his endeavors.”

Bishop said he will continue to support FAMU “in an appropriate action.”

Carroll said upon hearing about Bishop’s desire to not be reinstated as a trustee, University officials felt a certain sense of gratitude for his service.

“We thank him for his service to Florida A&M University,” Carroll said.

Bishop is the current president of the lobbying firm Associated Industries of Florida. He has held the position since January.

Carroll said the University is in transition, and one of the issues the board will tackle next year is the appointment of a permanent president.

“FAMU has been undergoing some changes for several years now since the departure of President Fredrick Humphries,” Carroll said. “And we expect there to be a few more changes as the Governor appoints or reappoints board members to this Board of Trustees.”

The board holds authority over the mission and goals of the institution, admission and retention policies, faculty promotions and other areas.

Contact Emanuel Nicholson at