- Presidents at Chicago State University and Florida A&M University are out after trustees force separation agreements with leaders having served less than four years combined at their respective institutions.
- Thomas Calhoun Jr. will leave CSU and Elmira Mangum at FAMU, amid protest from faculty and students against the board, while both are likely to receive hefty severance bonuses for their immediate departures.
- Both institutions serve predominantly black student populations, and have faced significant cuts in state appropriations over the last decade.
Leadership turnover is one of the primary and most public symptoms of financial stress on an institution. Dozens of historically black colleges and universities have changed leadership since 2008, and Chicago State University has become the public example of partisan division around the subject of higher education spending.
Both schools, among the largest of their institutional type and mission in their respective states, serve underrepresented populations with extensive needs in academic preparation and financial support. And while most research indicates how critical they are to workforce development and racial equity, sociopolitical agendas have led to infighting on their boards and dramatic cuts in the halls of legislature. They are the perfect examples of how playing day-to-day politics in higher education for marginalized racial and ethnic groups is more important than how many students a school can graduate year-to-year.