ON Wednesday July 11, 2012 FAMU President James Ammons resigned from the university which is currently facing scrutiny and investigation following the tragic death of FAMU band member Robert Champion earlier this year.
In a letter to the chairman of the university’s governing board, Ammons said his decision came after “considerable thought, introspection and conversations with my family.”
Ammons resignation, which takes effect October 11,2012, is the same month that defendants will begin their trial in the hazing death of Champion. Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in Champion’s hazing. They have pleaded not guilty. Hazing that involves bodily harm is a third-degree felony in Florida.
University trustees, who say the resignation came as a surprise, voted to hold an emergency meeting Monday to discuss a replacement and the specific terms of Ammons’ resignation.
The resignation is yet another blow to the University following the hazing death in November, which led to the suspension of its famed Marching 100 band until 2013 and the springtime resignation of the band’s veteran director.
Hours before Ammons’ announcement Wednesday, Champion’s parents added the university to a lawsuit they had brought against the bus driver, whom they alleged stood guard outside the bus while the hazing took place.
The Champions claim Florida A&M University officials did not take action to stop hazing even though a school dean proposed suspending the band because of hazing concerns three days before their son died.