Florida A&M University on track to hire president by Jan. 9

1:01 PM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
Larry Robinson becomes FAMU's interim president after President James Ammons suddenly quits.
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(Tallahassee Democrat) -- The trustees at Florida A&M are ramping up efforts to hire the university's 11th president.

Thursday morning, less than 48 hours after learning that FAMU's accrediting agency had lifted a one-year probation sanction, trustees announced a timetable that could have them naming a permanent president on Jan. 9. A presidential search committee last met Oct. 17, its first meeting since mid March.

Former Provost Larry Robinson has served as interim president since July 2012, when James H. Ammons abruptly resigned in the wake of the November 2011 hazing death of a marching band drum major.

It's still not clear if Robinson will be allowed to apply for the permanent position, despite a groundswell of support for his candidacy by FAMU's influential National Alumni Association.

There is no deadline for applying, board chairman Solomon Badger said. The search committee is set to begin interviewing applicants at FAMU's law school in Orlando on Jan. 6. Finalists will be invited to the main campus on Jan. 8 to meet with the full board of trustees and other university stakeholders, with the goal of hiring Ammons' successor the following day.

As of late November, 36 individuals had submitted applications to Greenwood/Asher, the executive search firm FAMU hired to assist with the search.

Robinson said he would not be a candidate for president when he accepted the interim position. The national alumni group submitted a resolution in March requesting that Robinson be allowed to apply, but the trustees have never responded to the request.

Badger said Thursday he did not expect the full board to meet before its scheduled Jan. 8 session in Tallahassee.

"I know there's enough conversation out there that Dr. Robinson has been recommended to the search committee and to Greenwood/Asher," Badger said. "He would have to apply and that's what Dr. Robinson agreed to not do.

"Does that leave room for him to be drafted for the position? Does that leave room for him to be nominated?" Badger added. "I suspect that all of the above will happen."

Doug Blackburn, Democrat senior writer

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