TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Florida A&M University held a special media event Monday morning, giving reporters a chance to speak with President Dr. Elmira Mangum, but only under strict guidelines outlined by the university.
WTXL was invited to participate but declined to attend, because the university put restrictions on the interview that the station, as a news organization, did not think were fair.
No photography or videography was allowed during the meeting. Officials restricted which members of the media could attend, and the invited reporters were allowed to ask one question during the roundtable -- more, if time permitted.
Mangum has been under fire by the university's board of trustees for her performance and leadership. The board voted twice last month to fire her, but both motions failed.
WTXL reached out to four local public relations firms about how the university chose to hold Monday's event, none of whom wanted to comment.
WTXL news director M. David Lee III issued the following statement regarding why the station declined to be a part of Monday's interview:
"As a news organization, we did not feel the conditions in which Florida A&M University dictated today's interview opportunity to be acceptable. If Dr. Mangum wishes to sit down with WTXL, with whoever we choose as the reporter, for an open and frank conversation about the university, we are more than willing to set that up.
However, asking a television station not to videotape the interview, trying to handpick who can do the interview and the initially limiting reporter questions to just one, is unacceptable. -- M. David Lee III, WTXL News Director."
WTXL has also requested an audio recording of Monday's interview. The university said it was working on that request.
“Yesterday’s event resulted in a very fruitful discussion,” said Jimmy Miller, vice president for Communications and External Relations. “One of the President’s guiding principles of her administration is transparency, and she wanted to be sure to have a candid dialogue with the media representatives who have been following FAMU closely and who had not been able to speak with her previously due to a very full schedule.”
In a news release, Miller also addressed what he called unfounded accusations that the intimate dialogue without cameras was “unfair.”
“Media representatives were not prohibited from carrying out their duties,” he said. “The conversation was completely on-the-record. Multiple questions and follow-up questions were asked. There were no limitations on the questions that were asked. Media representatives audio-recorded the entire dialogue and took notes, just as reporters would do at any other media event. Broadcast stations attending had plenty of previous images and B-roll to use to go along with their stories. Additionally, photos were taken with the President at the end of the discussion.”
In the invite that was sent to media outlets, including WTXL, FAMU put restrictions on which reporter could attend and then wanted to limit them to one question. They also said that no video or photos would be allowed.
Read the full invite below.