James Ammons Leaving Presidency of Florida A&M University

James Ammons, president of Florida A&M University, has announced that he is stepping down as of October 11. The letter of resignation came the same day that a lawsuit was filed against the university by the parents of drum major Robert Champion who authorities say died as a result of a hazing incident last November. Eleven members of the FAMU marching band have been charged with felony hazing in the incident. The authorities said they were unable to charge anyone with second-degree murder or manslaughter charges because no one blow could be identified as being fatal to Champion.

By a vote of 8-4, President Ammons was subjected to a vote of no-confidence by the university’s board of trustees in June, but he vowed to stay on and right the ship. He upheld the suspension of the band for the coming academic year, and in the future, members will face stiffer eligibility and academic requirements. Ammons also announced plans to hire a compliance officer for the music department and a special assistant to the president to deal with hazing issues.

Ammons, who became president in 2007, signed a five-year extension to his contract a year ago. He is the former chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham. He is an alumnus of Florida A&M and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.

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  1. I am sadden by the news of Dr. Ammons formal resignation and as an alum I know this decisions hurts him as only a true Rattler can be wounded under the circumstances. It is my prayer that we move forward with humility and action to continue the work he started during his tenure. The dark cloud will settle over the horizon. In the words of our alma mater…”College of love and charity. We gather ’round thy noble shrine; We lift our voice in praise to thee, And ask a blessing all divine”.

  2. Dr. Ammons will be a great asset to the next institution lucky enough to acquire his expertise. I wish him well. We will hear from him again…hopefully soon.

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