On Wednesday James Ammons announced he was leaving as president of FAMU.
“After considerable thought, introspection and conversations with my family, I have decided to
resign from my position as president in order to initiate my retirement on October 11,” Ammons said in a letter emailed to the university’s Board of Trustees.
The 90-day notice came the same day FAMU was added to the wrongful death lawsuit by the parents of the late Robert Champion, who blamed his death on Ammons’ lack of attention to the university’s hazing problem. The former drum major died in November after being beaten by fellow members of FAMU’s famed Marching 100 band; the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
Ammons’ letter did not mention the circumstances that brought the band’s suspension last year, and in which 11 FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts. Following the presidency, he said, he will continue his work “as a tenured full professor on our great faculty.”
But the university’s Board of Trustees last month handed the embattled president an 8-4 no confidence vote, primarily due to the scandal that placed under an international spotlight the longstanding practice of hazing at FAMU, and brought Champion’s parents’ claims that FAMU officials didn't take enough preventive action.