FAMU President Resigns in Wake of Band Hazing Death

James Ammons had been president of the historic university since 2007.

Posted: 07/11/2012 03:20 PM EDT
FAMU President Resigns in Lieu of Hazing Death

The president of Florida A&M University has resigned in the aftermath of a hazing scandal that has rocked the historic college.

James Ammons announced his resignation one day after the family of the marching band’s drum major, Robert Champion, said they planned to file a lawsuit against the school, asserting that it was partly responsible for their son’s death.

Ammons’ resignation also came a few weeks after the university’s board of trustees took a vote if no confidence in his leadership. At the time of that vote, Ammons said he would remain in his office at the university.

But the controversy surrounding Champion became too much for Ammons, who had been president since 2007.

Champion’s parents, Robert and Pamela Champion, made it clear some time ago that they planned to file a lawsuit against the university. However, under state law in Florida, they were compelled to delay their suit for at least six months because FAMU is a state institution.

Champion, who was 26 and a member of the celebrated Florida A&M marching band, died Nov. 19 in Orlando after a beating aboard the band's bus following a performance at Bethune Cookman University.

Shortly afterward, 11 members of the band were charged with felony hazing. Two other band members were received misdemeanor charges for allegedly participating in the hazing activity. They have maintained that they are innocent.

Before coming to Florida A&M, Ammons was chief administrator of North Carolina Central University. He is a graduate of Florida A&M.

 

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