The Florida A&M University president keeps his job, despite a call by the governor last week for his suspension in the wake of the death of a member of the renowned Marching 100 band.
The university’s board of trustees decided today not to take action against FAMU president James Ammons. According to the news story: The university’s board of trustees on Monday rejected a call by Gov. Rick Scott that James Ammons be suspended. “We will stand firm against outside interference, no matter how well intended,” Solomon Badger, the FAMU board chairman, said during a board meeting that was held by conference call.
The parents of Robert Champion, the DeKalb drum major who died of alleged hazing at the hands of fellow band members, are disappointed in the decision.
Experts on hazing said it will not stop without dramatic action by colleges showing that such behaviors will not be tolerated. Certainly, suspending or firing a president is dramatic, but apparently the FAMU board is not yet ready for such a step.
“Everyone that’s involved,” Pam Champion said Monday of those responsible for Robert D. Champion’s death. “All the way from the administrator that knew that this culture existed at the school to the organizations, the band, each individual student … everybody that turned their back.”
Robert D. Champion, a 26-year-old drum major for the FAMU Marching 100 band, died on Nov. 19 from hazing during a band trip to Orlando, authorities said. An Orange County medical examiner determined last week that his death was a homicide, while the university’s board of trustees on Monday morning decided not to take action against FAMU president James Ammons – at least until a criminal investigation was complete.
But Robert Champion’s parents, Pam and Robert G. Champion, of Decatur, believe the top is where the problem of hazing begins. “He should’ve had some type of control over the students, the faculty and all the people he put in place to keep those kids safe,” Robert G. Champion said of Ammons. “If he wasn’t on top of what was going on, I feel that appropriate action should be taken.”
“Ultimately, he’s responsible,” Pam Champion said of Ammons. “He’s the head.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog