Florida Memorial President Faces Possible Non-Renewal

A slate of allegations of sexual harassment, bad culture, and firings are drawing some members of Florida Memorial University’s board of trustees closer to a non-renewal of president Jaffus Hardrick’s contract.

Two sources with ties to the board say that Hardrick, who was appointed as permanent president in April 2019, has failed to effectively respond to a growing number of personnel management claims of harassment made against current and former administrators, while high-profile incidents continue to drop morale among students and employees.

Last October, FMU drew national attention for allegations of mismanagement of its athletics program in the midst of rampant coronavirus infections of student-athletes who participated in practices and games while most programs nationwide discontinued competition. HBCU Gameday broke the story on complaints from students and parents about former Athletic Director Ernest Jones withholding information on infections and later reported on allegations of sexual harassment, which eventually led to his resignation from the university.

One of the alleged victims of Jones’ harassment was former Football Teams Operation Manager Stephanie Anderson, a Lincoln University of Pennsylvania graduate who died in April in what officials believe was a late-night paddleboarding accident in Key Largo, about 60 miles south of Miami Gardens.

A Miami Times feature that same month detailed similar harassment allegations against head women’s basketball coach Gregory Stanback. While Stanback is still listed as head coach, neither the school nor media archives show any public discipline or remarks from school leadership on the alleged incident.

In 2019, a student sued the school saying that officials failed to secure doors and entryways to a campus dormitory, which allowed two men to enter a room, and rape her.

“When you are cleaning up an organization, and you’re trying to establish accountability, there will always be those who will come out and make allegations of any kind,” Dr. Hardrick told HBCU Gameday last fall. “But the bottom line is, they know that my door is always open. And it’s wrong for them to say that… ‘well I allow AD Jones to operate any way that he wants.’ No, that’s just not factual.”

“They may not see the results that they want which is ‘oh well we want him out.”

Hardrick served as FMU interim president for nine months prior to his permanent appointment, and enrollment at the private HBCU posted at 1,097 in the fall of 2019 according to federal data.