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FAMU suspends presidential search

The chairman of Florida A&M University's Board of Trustees said he was calling off the search for a new president, saying the the issues facing the university and not the quality of the candidate pool drove that decision.

Interim President Larry Robinson will remain at the helm of the school for the foreseeable future. Board Chairman Solomon Badger said the search was being suspending temporarily but didn't give a timeline on when it would resume in today's statement.

FAMU's presidential search committee was scheduled to meet Monday and Tuesday and interview finalists on Wednesday and Thursday. A new president could have been chosen by Friday.

It is the second state university to abruptly end its presidential search this year. In January, University of Florida President Bernie Machen agreed to postpone his retirement at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott.

Badger's full statement:

I have decided today to temporarily suspend the search for a new FAMU President.

This is neither a commentary on the quality of candidates, nor a questioning of the search process. This is just a stark acknowledgement of the fact that FAMU’s accreditation is at risk, as it was placed on probation by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges) in December.

We currently face a very tight timetable to prepare our detailed response to SACS, with key deadlines fast approaching. We have a highly skilled team, led by Interim President Robinson, that is diligently working to prepare the report to SACS, due in August, and to ready FAMU for SACS’ on-site visit in September.

It would be irresponsible to disrupt their work at this critical juncture. It would also be eminently unfair to bring in a new President as FAMU’s accreditation hangs in the balance. I have full faith that InterimPresident Robinson and his team will succeed in their effort and want to make sure they face no distractions or disruptions.

I also want to thank the members of the search committee for their work so far and our many esteemed candidates for their interest. I hope they understand my decision and remain ready to resume the search process after the university has addressed these critical issues.