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FAMU hazing scandal: President cancels long exit, steps down now

July 16, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Florida A&M University President James Ammons, who has been under fire since the hazing death of a marching band member, immediately steps down from his job.
Florida A&M University President James Ammons, who has been under… (Bill Cotterell / Associated…)

James Ammons, who had earlier announced that he would step down as president of Florida A&M University in the fall,  abruptly announced Monday that he was leaving immediately — the latest casualty of the hazing scandal involving the historically black college’s famed marching band.

At an emergency meeting of the school’s board of trustees, Ammons agreed to leave the top post in exchange for pay bonuses, the Associated Press reported. Ammons made his announcement during a telephone conference call from the meeting.

Ammons will take a one-year sabbatical, the Orlando Sentinel reported, then return to the university to take a faculty position. Last week, Ammons announced he would step down from the presidency on Oct. 11.

Larry Robinson, the university’s provost, was named interim president while the board decides how to permanently fill the job.

On Nov. 19, drum major Robert Champion died during a hazing ritual of the university's  Marching 100 band, which achieved national prominence performing at presidential inaugurations and Super Bowls. The death followed a severe beating in a bus outside a hotel where the band was staying.

Eleven band members face felony charges in connection with the incident,  and two others face misdemeanor charges. Champion's family has sued the university over the incident.

The hazing incident followed questions about membership in the band in which non-students were allowed to perform. There were also questions about the financial management at the school.


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