The move comes after 12 former FAMU band members were charged with manslaughter in connection with the vicious hazing death of Robert Champion, the 26-year-old Florida A&M University drum major who died in November 2011 after a vicious hazing from fellow band members. Champion was gay. As a result of the investigation, FAMU has been put on probation by an accrediting agency.
Suspending the search has the effect of making Interim President Larry Robinson's term open-ended. [Solomon L. Badger III, chairman of the Florida A&M University board of trustees] said he acted so Robinson can concentrate on getting the college off probationary status.
FAMU was put on probation in December by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in the wake of the band hazing death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion in Orlando. The SACS report said that the college was failing to meet basic educational standards when it comes to finances, student safety, operational "integrity" and leadership.
Former FAMU president James Ammons was pushed out last July amid widespread criticism after Champion's death.
Florida A&M University is the state's only public, historically black university. The Tallahassee-based university was founded in 1887 "and it is the largest historically black university in the United States by enrollment," according to its Wiki.
FAMU is well-known for its Marching "100" Band—which has a long history of violent hazing incidents. Investigators learned in May 2012 that more than 100 members of the marching band were NOT registered students.
Last week, one of the co-defendants pled guilty to manslaughter and agreed to "provide prosecutors with a detailed statement and testify truthfully in the cases of his 11 co-defendants." A second co-defendant has provided an eyewitness account of Champion's brutal death, which allegedly included being kicked, punched and hit with traffic cones.
Champion's parents publicly revealed in January 2012 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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