Timeline of Change
Florida board of regents adopts Gov. Jeb Bush’s One Florida Plan, which eliminates the use of affirmative action policies in admissions in the state in exchange for a system giving special consideration to students who demonstrate economic or educational disadvantage. One Florida also guarantees admission to high school students who rank in the top 20 percent of their senior class to a state university, regardless of SAT or ACT scores. The plan also earmarks $20 million in need-based financial aid for low-income students attending state institutions and directs additional resources toward improving outcomes at middle schools and high schools that rank in the D and F categories on statewide performance indicators. The plan gets mixed reviews from African Americans and others. Critics say the new plan will cause the state’s HBCUs to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of admitting students who, though they rank in the top 20 percent of their senior class, do not qualify for admission to the state’s most selective institutions.
Florida legislators pass HB 2263, which creates a new governance system for education in the state. The move triggers the beginning of a process for ending nearly all existing education governing bodies in the state, including the board of regents and the state board of community colleges. The new model creates a “seamless, student-centered,” pre-kindergarten through graduate school (K-20) system that will emphasize academic success.
Gov. Bush signs legislation granting FAMU permission to reinstate its law school, after a 30-year battle. The previous law school was closed in 1968.
A 12-member transition task force is appointed to implement the state’s new education governance system. The task force includes five appointees named by the governor, three named by the speaker of the state legislature and three named by the president of the state senate. The task force, which meets monthly in a public forum, is charged with completing the transition by 2003.
Controversy erupts when a national election yields unclear results in the presidential race between Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. Florida is at the center of the storm as voters charge unfair practices at the polls and several thousand ballots are determined to be either missing, mismarked or miscounted. Adding to the nation’s cynicism about the election results are concerns about the role Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, George W. Bush’s brother and the younger son of former President George Bush, might have played in the voting scandal. Students at FAMU are among those who protest the election results.
Gov. Jeb Bush names Charlie Crist, a lawyer and former state senator, as commissioner of education for the state.
The board of regents accepts recommendations from Chancellor Adam Herbert, Humphries and a site selection committee to locate the new FAMU College of Law in Orlando. The new program is scheduled to enroll its first class of students in fall 2002, with the new campus scheduled to open in 2003.
After weeks of unprecedented events, the U.S. Supreme Court finally rules that George W. Bush is the rightful winner of Florida electoral votes and Bush is declared President of the United States.
University system Chancellor Adam Herbert also announces his intention to step down effective March 2 to start a new center for public policy and leadership at the University of North Florida. Judy Hample, a veteran educator, is named to serve as chancellor until the new governance system takes effect.
Dr. James H. Ammons Jr. resigns as FAMU provost and vice president of student affairs to accept a new position as president of North Carolina Central University. Dr. Gladys Lang, associate vice president of academic affairs, is named interim provost.
Days after the Ammons announcement, Humphries announces that he, too, plans to resign effective June 30.
Percy R. Luney Jr. is named dean of the new FAMU College of Law. Luney, a graduate of Harvard Law School, is the former president of the National Judicial College, a judicial education and training institution in Reno, Nev.
The Tallahassee Democrat reports that state auditors have been called in to investigate a dispute between Humphries and Dr. Sybil Mobley, dean of the School of Business and Industry. According to the paper, Mobley complained that Humphries had no right to spend funds that had been earmarked for faculty chair on student scholarships, the paper said. Humphries countered that he did so with the blessings of former Chancellor Charles Reed, and that the scholarships were needed to attract top-tier students to the business school. The funds involved in the dispute amounted to roughly $1.9 million and came from interest earnings on two $1 million endowed chairs in the business school. Students receiving the presidential scholarships are given a full ride and attractive paid internships.
Humphries is asked by Chancellor Hample and outgoing Regents Chairman Thomas Petway II to remain in his position until Aug. 31, by which time the new board of trustees is expected to be in place. Humphries agrees.
The governor names the seven members of the new Florida board of education. Their responsibilities include setting the overall vision for education in the state, setting statewide policy and holding delivery systems and institutions accountable for meeting expectations. The board also is charged with appointing a new commissioner of education, who will serve as chief executive for the state’s education system.
Jeb Bush begins process of naming trustees for each of the state universities, beginning with Florida A&M. The FAMU trustees hold their first orientation session in Miami. All of the 13 members are present.
The Florida board of regents disbands and the new Florida board of education begins.
Hample leaves to become chancellor of the Pennsylvania State University system. Dr. Carl Blackwell, who served as executive vice chancellor under the old system, is named interim chancellor of colleges and universities under the new system.
Florida State University, which shares a college of engineering with FAMU, says unless changes are made in the way the college is managed, they plan to disengage. Under an agreement signed by the two universities in 1987, FAMU has permanent control of the budget, to which both institutions contribute roughly $8.6 million in operating funds annually. Because it has more students enrolled at the college, however, FSU also contributes supplementary funding.
The new FAMU trustees hold their first meeting Aug. 2. Art Collins, a FAMU alumnus and lobbyist with offices in Tallahassee and Washington, is named chair.
Among other business items, the trustees ask the new chair to appoint three members to serve on a task force to work out FAMU’s differences with Florida State University over the college of engineering. The board also asks Humphries to remain in place until a new president can be identified. He agrees to stay until Dec. 31. In the weeks following, trustees hammer out qualifications and a job description for the president position via phone conferences.
Notices formally announcing the presidency position and inviting applicants are circulated throughout the higher education community.
The FAMU board of trustees has its second face-to-face meeting.
— Compiled by Cheryl D. Fields
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com