It's about time. Florida A&M University trustees voted this morning that President James Ammons should step down immediately instead of waiting for his October resignation, reports The Orlando Sentinel and Tallahassee Democrat.
Ammons resigned last week amid widespread criticism and the growing scandal over the death of Robert Champion, the openly gay FAMU drum major who died last November after a vicious hazing from fellow band members.
The board [of trustees] waived the 90-day notice requirement in Ammons' contract, meaning his five-year term as president is effectively over. Trustees also agreed to pay the two bonuses in Ammons' contract for the past two years.
FAMU Provost Larry Robinson has been appointed interim president of the university. FAMU is Florida's only historically black public university.
Champion died during a band trip to Orlando on 19 November 2011. The 26-year-old drum major suffered blunt trauma blows and died from shock caused by severe bleeding, according to the autopsy. Champion was reportedly vomiting before he was found unresponsive aboard the bus.
Thirteen defendants were charged with felony hazing on May 2. Two defendants face midemeanor counts. The felony hazing charge carries a maximum penalty of almost six years.
Investigators have learned that more than 100 members of FAMU's famous marching band are NOT registered students. This includes at least three of the 11 band members charged almost two weeks ago with felony hazing.
Champion's parents publicly revealed in January that their son was gay. In addition to being vocally opposed to hazing, Champion's sexuality could have been among the reasons why he was viciously beaten during the attack, according to the family's attorney. Read more at my article for EBONY: "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell": Why Has Black Media Ignored the Sexuality of FAMU Hazing Victim Robert Champion?"
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