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Letter from Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed in response to article in March 8-10, 2007 Daytona Times

B-CU

March 12, 2007

Mr. Charles W. Cherry, II
Publisher
Daytona Times, Inc.
5207 Washington Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33619
 
Dear Mr. Cherry:
 
I am greatly disturbed by the content of an article that appeared on the front page of the March 8 – 10, 2007 edition of the Daytona Times and an Editorial penned by you that appeared on Page 4.
 
The article entitled “B-CU reduces participation in BCR, introduces new activities”, and written by Karsceal Turner, opens with a grossly inaccurate paragraph.  Mr. Turner’s statement that “Administrative officials from Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) were absent from a recent meeting held on the campus…” appears to deliberately malign me and the University.
 
Three University administrative officials did attend the March 1 meeting of the Collegiate Events Task Force.  All three individuals were authorized by me and are capable of representing the university. They were charged with bringing back information to the President for decision making purposes.
 
The University was represented by The Reverend Victor Gooden a full-time employee of the University and a member of the President’s Administrative Cabinet.  In his official capacity, Reverend Gooden is Student Affairs Coordinator and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, and he is the operations manager and second in command for the student affairs sector of the University.
 
Mrs. Cynthia Gray, who also attended the meeting, is employed full time by the University and serves as Director of Student Activities.
 
Also representing the University was Ms. Sharlee Peabody, a graduating senior, who holds the top ranking, student body leadership role by serving as the interim president of the Student Government Association.
 
On page 2 of the article, Mr. Turner makes a statement that “No one from B-CU was available for comment.”  Reverend Gooden, Mrs. Gray and Ms. Peabody were authorized to participate fully in the meeting and they did.  They tell me that at no time after the meeting were they contacted by Mr. Turner for further comments. Mr. Turner has Reverend Gooden’s cell phone number and has full access to him for comments, clarification and further information.
 
In Mr. Turner’s mention of the tentative list of activities planned by the University he omitted an important point regarding how these activities were chosen.  It is the on-going planning effort on campus involving students and the administration that has helped shape the University’s participation.  That coupled with what our insurance covers has set our parameters. This information was provided at the March 1 and other meetings and in particular to City officials at a February 23 meeting.
 
I take great offense at Mr. Turner implying the University is “shying away” from involvement in BCR.  His selection of one “B-CU senior” to comment on the University “shying away and scaling down activities” appears to be a deliberate attempt to diminish many months of planning and involvement by University representatives and my personal commitment to give leadership to the University’s participation.  His remarks are inflammatory and meant to mislead the readership and discredit me personally.
 
With regard to your Editorial, “B-CU’s lost opportunity” published on page 4 of the March 8 – 10 edition of the Daytona Times, I am taking this as a personal attack on my leadership of Bethune-Cookman University’s involvement in BCR.  As the Task Force pondered a date for the meeting they were aware that on March 1, I would not be available to personally attend the meeting and that there would be University representation present.
 
My absence at the March 1 meeting was not due to my lack of leadership, as you imply.  For more than a year, I have been engaged in numerous talks and meetings with the City of Daytona Beach and the Task Force regarding BCR and B-CUs involvement.
 
Given the gravity of this matter, Mr. Cherry, I expect that you will contact me immediately upon receipt of my letter, which I am emailing and faxing to you.  I expect that you will print a full retraction of your Editorial, and I also expect that you will handle Mr. Turner in an appropriate manner that is satisfactory to me and University administrators.  I can be reached directly at 386-481-2006. If I am away from the office, Ms. Beneby can transfer your call to me.
 
Sincerely,
 
Trudie Kibbe Reed, EdD
President
 
C:   Mrs. Julia T. Cherry, Chairwoman, Board of Directors, Daytona Times, Inc.
       Mr. Glenn W. Cherry, Chief Executive Office, Daytona Times, Inc.
       Mrs. Cassandra Cherry Kittles, Board of Directors, Daytona Times, Inc.
 Dr. Irving Matthews, Chair, B-CU Board of Trustees
 Mr. Glenn Ritchey, Mayor, City of Daytona Beach
 Commissioners, City of Daytona Beach
 Mrs. Cynthia Slater, President, Daytona Beach Chapter, NAACP
 The Reverend L. Ronald Durham, President, Daytona Black Clergy Alliance
 Pastor Members of the Daytona Black Clergy Alliance
 Joydel Trail, Editor, Daytona Times, Inc.
Mr. Karsceal Turner, Staff Writer, Daytona Times
The Bethune-Cookman University Faculty, Staff and Students
Mrs. Jackie Mongal, President, B-CU National Alumni Association

Office of Public Relations

Shirley Rangeranges@cookman.edu PH: 386-481-2950

About Bethune-Cookman University

Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 3,400.

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