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FAMU Gets Its First Female President

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Elmira MangumElmira Mangum, who is currently Cornell University’s vice-president for budget and planning, will become the first female president of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, more commonly known as FAMU, after she was selected by the Board of Trustees.

Two members of the Board, who thought that the 60-year-old was not the right candidate for the position, raised objections against the selection as did several of the alumni and students, but she was selected anyway by a vote of 10 for and 2 against.

However, before Mangum can take up her new position, she must be approved by the Board of Governors of Florida.

After the case of the death of drum major, Robert Champion in November 2011, the university gained national attention in the media, but Magnum thinks that it is time that FAMU moved onwards from this terrible tragedy.
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Champion was the victim of hazing at FAMU, where 15 other members of the band have been charged with contributing to his death. Eight of the 15 accepted plea deals, one is awaiting sentencing after he did not contest a charge of manslaughter and six will go to trail next June because they refused any plea deals.

The university also suspended the band, Marching 100, for over one year, until they lifted it in 2013. Policy changes were made by FAMU to ensure that this kind of tragic death does not occur again.

Mangum went on to say that when she takes over as president of FAMU, she will concentrate on strengthening the academic and student support programs instead of dwelling on the past disasters.

Previously, the mother of three adult children was associate provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, before she moved on to CornellUniversity in New York. Before that, the unmarried mother served at the University at Buffalo as a senior staff member.

Larry Robinson, Interim president of FAMU, was the choice of Spurgeon McWilliams, one of the Board members who voted against Mangum. However, the Board had not selected Robinson to be one of the candidates and they refused to reverse their decision, even though some students and alumni expressed a wish that they wanted him to retain his position.