The FAMU Environmental Sciences Institute director Henry Williams ousted

Officials at Florida A&M announced that Henry Williams is no longer the director of the Environmental Sciences Institute. FAMU spokeswoman Sharon Saunders said in an e-mail message that Williams was removed because the institute has chosen to move in a new direction.

“As we move toward new goals in the environmental sciences arena, it is appropriate that we identify another leader to build on what Williams has done,” Saunders said.

Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris said in an e-mail message circulated to top administrators Friday that Williams would remain as a faculty member.

Michael Abazinge, the former associate director of the institute, will become interim director until a permanent director has been selected. Abazinge currently teaches at the institute.

Saunders stressed that Williams’ removal was not a cause of employment action nor did it have anything to do with Larry Robinson’s appointment by the White House.

“Dr. Williams has served in the capacity of director of the Environmental Sciences Institute for approximately five years,” Saunders said. “During that time, he successfully led the academic, research and service programs of the institute.”

According to the FAMU Web site, ESI launched in 1995. The system is a multidisciplinary unit that offers a wide range of services to students, governmental agencies, private sector companies, communities and other organizations.

The institute, which offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, is the largest producer of doctorates for blacks and others who are underrepresented in the environmental sciences.

Williams was unavailable for comment.