Florida A&M University

Florida A&M University President James Ammons has resigned as the university continues to deal with the fallout from the hazing death of one of the school band's drum majors.

Just weeks ago FAMU's board of trustees issued a vote of "no confidence" in Ammons over the way the university has handled the case. Ammons said at the time he had considered stepping aside but in the end decided to remain.

Wednesday, Ammons issued a letter to the board stating his intentions to leave the university.

After the forced retirement of longtime FAMU Band Director Julian White in the aftermath of the hazing death of Marching 100 band drum major Robert Champion, the university is looking at the next step:  hiring White's replacement.

Here's the release from the university announcing the search:

FAMU BEGINS NATIONAL SEARCH FOR A NEW DIRECTOR OF BANDS

Florida A&M University is launching a million-dollar campaign to repair its image after months of bad headlines. The school is weathering several crises starting with the hazing death of a band drum major, audit issues, and low graduation rates.

FAMU spokeswoman Sharon Saunders says the million-dollar campaign is aimed at getting the “good news” about FAMU out to the public. She says her current staff is too small, and has been so overwhelmed with media requests, that it’s left little time for anything else.

Florida State University students can expect to pay about 13-percent more for their classes this year, and FAMU students can expect a 12-percent increase. But that’s not what the two schools wanted.  The increases are a compromise of sorts between members of the state board that oversees Florida’s public universities.  And over the course of a two-hour meeting Thursday, votes over tuition increases were all over the place.

Florida A&M University has the lowest graduation rate out of all the state’s public universities. And the board that oversees those universities is not pleased.

Did you ever see the mid-80s movie “Children of the Corn”?

It was a Steven King story, so it was creepy and scary.  Much of the action involved homicidal young people who hid out in a big corn field.  But most cornfields are neither creepy or scary.

Agriculture is still Florida’s number two industry, right behind tourism.  And corn makes up a large part of the state’s farm production.  Some cutting-edge research is underway that could make corn even more of a cash crop. And that’s sparked the interest of aspiring food scientists.

Florida A & M University President James Ammons is under increasing pressure to resign and that pressure went up another notch this week.  At a meeting of FAMU’s board, trustee’s issued a vote of no-confidence in the embattled president. The move is the latest stemming from the hazing death of one of the school’s drum major, Robert Champion.

WFSU

Florida A&M University President James Ammons is under increasing pressure to resign and that pressure ratcheted up another notch Thursday. At a meeting of FAMU’s board, trustee’s issued a vote of no-confidence in the embattled president. Lynn Hatter reports the move is the latest stemming from the hazing death of one of the school’s drum majors.

Update  1:21 pm:  The Florida A&M University National Alumni Association President, Tommy Mitchell, will address the media regarding the recent newspaper articles implying FAMU problems are so severe that FAMU President, James H. Ammons, should resign or be fired. The rally will focus on the outstanding achievements of FAMU and the recognition the university continues to receive in spite of the media’s focus on the Robert Champion Tragedy.

The pressure on Florida A & M University continues to mount in the run-up to its board of trustees meeting set for Wednesday and Thursday.  In advance of the meeting, the chairman of the board that oversees all of Florida’s public universities issued a letter to FAMU’s board of trustees Chairman, seeking greater input into the evaluation of University President James Ammons.

FAMU

Florida A&M University’s College of Education been re-accredited under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The NCATE is the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teaching schools.

FAMU is one of only four universities in the state of Florida whose College/School of Education has received continuous accreditation since 1954.

Two defendants have pleaded no contest to lesser charges of misdemeanor hazing in the beating of a fellow Florida A&M University band member. Police say fellow band members beat Bria Shante Hunter on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

After their pleas in Tallahassee, Aaron Golson and Sean Hobson were sentenced Thursday to 30 days in a work camp followed by 12 months of probation.

Action in the case of a third defendant was delayed.

Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band will remain under suspension for at least another year. Lynn Hatter reports the university’s president says the band will need to undergo a restructuring phase before it can be allowed back on the field.

Florida A&M University President James Ammons says the decision to keep the band under suspension was not made lightly.

WFSU

Dr. Julian White has spent more than 50 years at Florida A&M, first as a student band member, then later on, as a music professor under the band’s founder, Dr. William Foster. White was promoted to director of bands and Chairman of the school’s music department. At almost every milestone in the band’s history, from the 1989 Bastille Day Parade in France, to winning the prestigious Sudler award—even playing super bowls and presidential inaugural parades, White has been there.

The fallout from the hazing scandal at Florida A&M University continued today: First there was news that after 40 years, the band director was stepping down and then there was news that Florida's top university official asked the university to keep the Marching 100 band off the field.

WFSU

Update 9:45 am:  University President James Ammons issued the following statement regarding Dr. Julian White's retirement:

“We wish him well in his retirement.  Given his position as department chair and director of bands, we must focus on moving forward with changes to the music department and the marching band.”

The director for the Florida A & M Marching 100 band is retiring after more than 40 years at the university. The news is the latest in the fallout from the hazing-death of one of the band’s drum majors.

A critical editorial in the Tallahassee Democrat demands that Florida A&M University President James Ammons resign. The editorial highlighted a series of past problems at the historically black university including the school’s past audit problems and the recent arrest of 11 people facing 3rd degree felonies in the hazing death of a school band drum major. Governor Rick Scott responded to the editorial Monday.

www.antihaze.com

The arrest of 11 people in the death of a Florida A&M University band drum major has brought the issue of hazing even more into the national spotlight. Now Lynn Hatter reports, a retired Florida A&M University professor believes she has found a way to help colleges and universities deal with hazing within campus organizations.

Most of the people charged in the hazing death of a Florida A & M University drum major have been taken into custody. Lynn Hatter reports the arrests come after state law enforcement authorities announced charges against 13 people on Wednesday. The arrests have some people beginning to wonder what’s next in the fate of FAMU’s fabled band program.

Some people may not have heard about Florida A&M University, but the sound of its band is almost unmistakable.

Leon County Sheriff's Office

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it has now arrested 10 out of the 11 people charged with felonies in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University band member. Lynn Hatter has more.

Two more people charged in the death of FAMU Marching 100 Band Drum major Robert Champion turned themselves in to the Leon County Jail Friday. They are 21-year-old Ryan Dean and 24-year-old Jonathan Boyce. Both have been released on bond.

Most of the people charged in the hazing death of a Florida A & M University drum major have been taken into custody. Florida Public Radio’s Lynn Hatter reports the arrests come after state law enforcement authorities announced charges against 13 people on Wednesday.

The charges come almost six months after FAMU Marching 100 band Drum Major Robert Champion died after being beaten in a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel. Now state law enforcement authorities are busy taking in suspects. 

Caleb Jackson was one of 15 people arrested for the Nov. 2011 hazing death of FAMU Drum Major, Robert Champion.
Leon County Jail / Leon County Sheriff's Office

Update 4:37 pm:  FDLE says it has an eighth person in custody.

Aaron Golson, B/M, DOB, 6/20/92, Gadsden County Jail

Update 2:40 pm:  Seven out of the 11 people facing felony hazing charges in the death of FAMU Marching 100 Band Drum Major Robert Champion have been taken into custody.

Of the remaining four, three are out-of-state.

Tony Levell

Thirteen people are facing charges in the hazing-death of a Florida A & M University band drum major. Robert Champion died following a beating aboard a band bus in Orlando in November. Now as Lynn Hatter reports, the charges range from misdemeanors to felonies in connection to the case.

Tony Levell

Update: 4:50 pm:   The Leon County Sheriff's office says they've taken two people into custody in connection with the Champion case.  They are 23-year-old Caleb Jackson and 24-year-old Ricky Wills. Both are charged with felony hazing relating in death.

Florida A&M University is looking for ways to deal with legislative budget cuts and a deficit in its athletics program. Lynn Hatter reports the school is considering increasing tuition, and trying to find ways to deal with the expected loss of revenue from the absence of its main fall attraction: the band.

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