Rob Carr/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Florida A&M University band performs at the 2010 Super bowl.
The Florida A&M University band performs at the 2010 Super bowl. Rob Carr/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Trustees of the Florida A&M University have rejected Florida governor Rick Scott's request to remove university president James Ammons in the wake of two brutal hazing incidents in the university's renowned marching band. One attack left a female clarinet player with blood clots in her legs and a broken thigh bone; the second was the homicide of drum major Robert Champion, Jr.
Champion died in a parking lot near a school bus on Nov. 19 after FAMU's Marching 100 finished a performance in Orlando. Now a Florida medical examiner says Champion died quickly after he was brutally beaten - and linked the murder to hazing.
Last week, Scott told the chairman of the FAMU board of trustees the hazing scandal was so problematic he wanted them to suspend Ammons until the investigation was over. Scott's call for the president's ouster came even though Florida law enforcement officials had previously instructed the university to reinstate other ousted FAMU staff and students connected with Champion's death. CNN notes the Florida officials warned the staff and students's removal could interfere with their investigation.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Chris O'Meara/AP
Gov. Scott apparently didn't feel that applied to the FAMU president, and the trustees held a meeting today to discuss his request. They quickly denied it, saying it was their role to govern the university and they would resist any outside influence. Among the trustees who rejected his demand were four people whom Scott himself appointed to the FAMU board, according to AP.
The news will be welcome to thousands of FAMU students who were so incensed at Scott's demand last week they marched to the governor's mansion Thursday night and chanted until he came out to speak to them, wearing his sweat pants. There were so many students encamped on the grounds he needed a bullhorn to address them on two occasions, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
The governor took the news well, releasing a statement on his website and concluding "I will abide by the decision made by the (FAMU) Board of Trustees."