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UPDATE: FAMU trustees defy Gov. Scott, keep president Ammons in post

by Dara Kam | December 19th, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott refused to back down from his contention that FAMU President James Ammons should step down, at least temporarily, even after the university’s board of trustees decided to keep Ammons in his post.
Scott issued the following statement shortly after the board’s conference call this morning:

“For the sake of appearances, and to assure the public that these investigations are clearly independent, I believe it would have been in the best interest of Florida A&M University for President Ammons to step aside until all of these investigations are completed. However, we have a process in Florida for the administration of the State University System, and that process has been followed. Like all other Floridians, I will abide by the decision made by the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees.”

Florida A&M University President James Ammons will remain in his post after the historically black university’s governing board this morning rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendation that Ammons be suspended until investigations into the hazing-related murder of FAMU Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion are complete.

The board also agreed this morning to meet weekly for at least the next two months to receive updates on the investigations into Champion’s death – ruled Friday a homicide by the Orlando medical examiner’s office – and alleged financial wrongdoings.

“We will stand firm against outside influence regardless of how well-intended that lead to detrimental consequences that threaten the viability of the university,” Board of Trustees Chairman Solomon Badger said during a telephone conference call this morning. “Our decisions will be fact-based and will result from a deliberative process…Therefore, it is my recommendation that until a final report results from these investigations with official facts, the president’s status remains the same.”

There was no discussion of or vote on Badger’s recommendation.

Scott has repeatedly asked Ammons to step down, and called Ammons into his office Friday afternoon to urge him to step aside until the investigations are complete.

But the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – the accrediting organization for the university – warned that Scott’s interference may threaten FAMU’s accreditation which requires that schools be free from political influence.

FAMU’s Alumni Association President Tommy Mitchell held a press conference Sunday afternoon warning Scott to let the university operate independently.

And late Sunday evening, Scott’s office issued a statement defending his actions thus far.

“It is up to the FAMU Board of Trustees and Dr. Ammons to determine how to proceed. I have not and will not try to influence their decision. I simply offered my advice and opinion based on the events and the facts I was made aware of. Like all other Floridians, I will abide by the decisions made by the Board of Trustees and President Ammons tomorrow, and I do not plan to release any further comment before then,” Scott said.

Two weeks ago, the trustees rejected a motion to suspend Ammons and instead publicly reprimanded him. Ammons abandoned an effort to fire the renowned band’s director Julian White and instead placed him on administrative leave with pay until the investigations are over.

Read more about the “culture of hazing” here.

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8 Responses to “UPDATE: FAMU trustees defy Gov. Scott, keep president Ammons in post”

  1. Puuulease! Says:

    Good deflection FAMU from the real issue. While you are raising your fist on the podium (ala ’68 Olympics) you are ignoring the fact a kid is dead on your watch.

    Stop embarrassing yourselves already.

  2. pj Says:

    And why wouldn’t they keep him as president? What qualified person would be available and willing to replace him at that dung-pile of a “university”?

    It’s full of vermin.

    “Hey, I have an idea! To make band members feel like they belong, let’s BEAT them to death!”

    This is what passes for university-level students?

    Besides, the trustees and everyone else are the scumbags who make all the money disappear at that school. They’re in a racket together. Why would they force out a guy who could surely drag them all down with them?

  3. Brotherdavid Says:

    Scott has already exhibited he has no respect for regular folks, so why should regular folks show him respect.

  4. BUba Says:

    Its black power once they get in to office its organised crime like wkite america has never seen. governor scott is a racist.

  5. Tony F. Says:

    Another attempt by the Palm Beach News to discredit Gov.Scott. Scott never suggested that Ammons be fired but to step aside and let some one else do the investigating so that Ammons could not be accused of white-washing the results. Come on,West Palm Beach News, you can’t be that dumb!

  6. ego maniac Says:

    Scott is a BULLY!!! Scott has asked Ammons several times to step down and called him into the “principals” office to URGE him to step aside. Guess he thought a little confrontation moment would sway “the Pres”. Just a bully.

  7. Black and Dark Says:

    Black brothers and sisters… Stand up. The President should step aside and the Trustees should demand the FDLE investigate at the highest level. We are acting like animals. Killing a fellow black student for fun ? Are we crazy? The admin knowing this occurs but does not stop it? Shut down the band, Shut down the school !! WE gotta change and improve ! STOP THE Madness. Our Governor is right

  8. PalmBeachDirect Says:

    The Board of Trustees is performing their role as mandated by state college guidelines. Would such interference be tolerated by any other non Black college in Florida? I think not. Governor Scott is a BULLY and seems to use this terrible tragedy to exercise dictatorial influence. I am glad to see the Board of Trustees resisting his interference.

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