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Florida A&M president to resign immediately

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University's president reached an agreement with school officials to immediately resign from his post Monday, after facing months of criticism in the wake of the hazing death of a marching band member.

Last week, James Ammons had submitted a letter stating his resignation would not take effect until Oct. 11. However, he waived a provision allowing him to give 90 days notice to the FAMU board in exchange for getting paid bonuses.

Ammons will be paid more than $98,000 in performance bonuses from his last two years in office — and will still earn his full presidential salary of more than $341,000 over the next year while he remains on sabbatical. Ammons plans eventually to return to FAMU as a member of the faculty.

The school's governing board — which held an emergency conference call to discuss Ammons' resignation — voted in favor of the deal with Ammons and voted to name current FAMU Provost Larry Robinson as interim president.

Robinson had previously served in the administration of President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He also briefly served as the top official in charge of FAMU back in 2007 before Ammons was appointed president.

FAMU's board spent more than an hour discussing whether to make Robinson interim president so quickly. Questions remain about whether other candidates should be considered — and whether an interim president is eligible to apply for the permanent job of president.

But both the student body president and head of FAMU's faculty senate pressed to appoint Robinson immediately in order to bring stability to a campus that has been reeling since the November death of Robert Champion.

"I know how jittery the university community is at this time," Narayan Persaud, a FAMU professor, told other board members.

Still, in order to reach consensus, trustees agreed to take a more formal vote when they meet again in August. The choice of interim president will also have to be approved by the Florida Board of Governors, the panel that oversees the entire state university system.

Ammons had vowed a month ago to remain at his job, despite a no-confidence vote from trustees in June.

During Monday's conference call, Ammons agreed to step down immediately but did not comment further about his decision.

Ammons was first brought on five years ago to help stabilize the school's financial troubles and threats to its accreditation.

But Champion's death put a spotlight on the hazing culture at the university, specifically within the famed Marching 100 band. Trustees have complained about a lack of oversight of the band as well as lax management on other issues at the university.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in Champion's hazing. They have pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, Champion's family has sued the university.

The band has already been suspended until 2013. And there are still two investigations under way, including a probe by the Florida Board of Governors into whether university officials ignored past warnings about hazing prior to Champion's death.

Other problems have come out in the past year. A top auditor resigned after it was discovered false audit summaries had been distributed. It was revealed that more than 100 members of the Marching 100 weren't students. And there is an ongoing state criminal investigation into band finances.

Additionally, the athletic department has a multi-million dollar deficit, and it appears that enrollment will drop this fall.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

WOW he really got hammered with punishment! I bet he will think twiced before he does anything like that again!!

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

ONLY AT AN HBCU. DEFIES LOGIC.

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hotdog 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes that esteemed HBCU....Penn St.....

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

PATERNO IS GONE, THE PRESIDENT IS GONE, THE MOLESTER IS IN PRISON FOR LIFE AND MORE ARE LOOKING AT CHARGES. IT'S NOT OVER YET. DO THEM ALL IN.

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PatrickY2K 2 years, 5 months ago

Only at an HBCU?!?! You mean taking responsibility for what happens in his administration? President Truman had a sign on his desk, "The buck stops here." Everyone should live by that, rather than making excuses and finding someone else to blame.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

Taking responsibility???????? He's been pressured to resign for "failure to act" for months!?!?!?!?!? Finally he does.........after the money is sorted out.

I guess he thought Obama would come to his rescue?! "Help Is On The Way!!"

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

But he forgot that Obama's too busy out there trying to get the American People to HATE anybody that has more stuff than they do. The Great Divider. What a sack of stinking .................!!

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PatrickY2K 2 years, 5 months ago

Since you know all, please tell me what MRKIA meant.

None of this has happened in a timely manner, and wasn't implying that he was stepping up and doing the right thing - he's being forced to do the right thing (paying attention, Velvet Riggins?).

I don't comment when I don't have much to say. Maybe you should start doing the same.

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stc1993 2 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like it's time for the Florida Board of Governors to lock the doors. Multi-million dollar deficit.

Last one out turn off the light.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

PY2K: HE TOOK RESPONSIBILITY ALRIGHT AND GOT A FAT CHECK FOR IT. HE ALSO HAS AN INVITE TO RETURN AS A PROFESSOR AFTER THE "SABBATICAL". SWEEEET...

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Bubbavet_rureel 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the buck has stopped with Y2K.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

It's time for Ammons to drive off at high speed in his Expensive Luxury Import (an AMG Mercedes valued at over $200K) and go home to his Gated Community Mansion and think about what he as DONE and what he as NOT DONE!! Haul Ass, Ammons!! And good riddance!! And P.S. There's an Innocent Dead Kid out there so please include that in your self pity about how bad you've been treated!! You Putz!!

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

THEY DON'T GET IT, AND I DON'T GET THAT.

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