Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James Ammons was reprimanded by the school’s board of trustees Dec. 8 in the wake of the suspected hazing death of drum major, 26-year-old Robert Champion.
Champion, a member of FAMU’s marching band, died after a performance at a football game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University.
In addition to Ammons’ reprimand, band director Julian White has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
FAMU Trustee Rufus Montgomery, who had proposed placing Ammons on administrative leave, says it may be time for a change regardless of the result of the investigation, citing unrelated university problems with academic accreditation.
The university’s School of Business and Industry was denied accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, Tallahassee.com reported Dec. 6. .The university noted Dec. 8 the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy (CoARC) placed Florida A&M University’s Cardiopulmonary Science Program on probation for not meeting the required 80 percent three-year average based on the 2010 Annual Report of Current Status benchmark on the national licensure examination.
“If the quarterback has thrown seven interceptions, you pull him from the game,” Montgomery said according to the Associated Press. “That is what we should do with Dr. Ammons.”
He argued that Ammons should be put on leave, but dropped the issue when he realized there was not adequate support for his proposition at the Trustee level. He nevertheless let his feelings about how the university handled the issue be known.
“It’s been 19 days since the death of a student occurred, a death of a student that was in our structure of authority. I’m being advised don’t say anything that could put us in a bad position here or there. What is right is right,” he said according to CNN.
“This student was under our care, under our authority,” he continued. “We did not act, we did not meet, we generally punted on this issue.”