December 19th, 2011
09:45 AM ET

Florida A&M president to stay on job during probe of student's death

Florida A&M University President James Ammons will remain in office during an investigation into the suspected hazing death of a student, the school's board of trustees decided Monday.

The decision comes days after Florida's governor recommended to the board that it suspend Ammons during an investigation into various issues at the university, including the November death of marching band drum major Robert Champion Jr., 26.

Some band members said Champion died after taking part in a rite of passage involving a beating aboard a bus. One member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that students "walk from the front of the bus to the back of the bus backward while the bus is full of other band members, and you get beaten until you get to the back."

Authorities have ruled Champion's death a homicide.

Four students were expelled from the school, and 30 others were dismissed from the band after Champion's death, Ammons wrote in a letter to the board of trustees last month.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Crime • Florida
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. They

    They need to charge these 34 people with murder; after all, wasn't this dude's death ruled a homicide? Yeah, I said it, all 34 of then on trial! Nancy Grace will cream her jeans!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Comment 98057

    @They: I agree with the NG statement! Lmao!

    December 19, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. joyce

    I do agree with the board that the Govenor of Florida needs to stay out of their business about suspending their president.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    Apparently this has been going to long for the school's administration to be in the dark. This hazing was done at a school sponsored event, not on the streets of the Hood. These young people did not intentionally kill the student who died. Those school officials, leaders who supervised the band and looked the other way while "tradition" played out, are the real guilty players here.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Wendell

    CNN was hoping the headline was "Embattled President Suspended". Better luck next time trying tear a man career apart who has done so much positive things for FAMU since 2007.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Yes, I suppose four years is not enough time for him to have stopped a decades-long tradition.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    It sure looks to most "civilized" folks out here that someone needs to get in there and get that place straightened out like a real "college"! If the Gov suggested the presidents suspension, it's probably based on some serious info he's privy to. This is apparently a cool place for the boyz to hang out for a number of years playing out some fantasies and maybe get a "degree" for their efforts – that's their public image at this point. These guys/gals who delivered the death blows need to be prosecuted, what's the mystery in all this.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Agree. However who delivered the death blow? The first person to whack him? The last? Point I'm trying to make is, no one individual could be charged with homicide. And no jury could, beyond a reasonable doubt, convict 34 individuals (tried together or separately) of homicide in this case. Battery maybe, but doubtful. You gotta hang the guy in charge.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. accurateasalways

    "our boys will be boys" a quote by Ron Paul

    December 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KcCritic

    Its kinda like someone murdering someone/and then someone driving the getaway car. They are just as guilty. They may not have fired the deadly shot/but they had a hand/no pun intended/ in the act. All/ALL should be held accountable. Im sure they didnt KNOW death would be the end result/ but/ they didnt know WOULDNT.

    December 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kyle788

    First, it is naïve of ANYONE to believe that hazing is not a common practice of many groups on all college campuses.
    Second, it is also naïve to think that any one person in charge of a college could put a stop to it, and ruin their career.
    Third, colleges are indeed "old boys clubs" where clout rules. Don't expect many results, punishments or changes that are anything but lip-service superficial.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |

    God, Bless the Champion family... but why is everyone acting like Robert did NOT agree to be hazed... this was a 26 year old MAN not I'm sure there was a bus list... and if Roberts name was not assigned to that bus... then what was he doing on that bus? Where was the bus driver? how did 34 ppl 35 plus Rob get on the bus when the band had already got off the buses? Why would a 26 year old MAN let ppl beat on him? If Robert would have survied he would be going to jail. FAMU hold hazing siminars that states... whether if u are the hazer or hazee u have committed a CRIME!!! if u Subject yourself to hazing, u are just as guilty as the one who is doing the hazing. Also, the band itself outside from the school holds hazing classes and have the TPD, FAMU PD, The Pres himself, student actives, band staff and student leaders ALL talk with u ABOUT HAZING AND HOW WRONG IT IS... So I think Famu has done it's job. Lets take America, If u don't know the law you still are subject to it... Who knew O.J. or anyone could go to jail for stealing HIS THINGS back... The law DOES NOT care if the told u or didn't tell u... u break the law u go to jail... well Robert broke the law which caused him his life... God rest his soul... but let's use his story to STOP this nonsense!!!!HAZING IS STUPID AND DUMB... and it is deeper than famu... the goverment is a haze... look how they are taking our money from the little ppl while the rich get rich... your job haze... look how u do things that are NOT in your job discription...and the biggest HAZER is AMERICA... slavery, killing the Natives and taking their land, minimum wages going down while prices going up, jobs are far, few, and in between... if u were to divided America's debt by the ppl living here... we all are $35,000 in debt when we are is my 11th month old child already $35,000 in debt?!?!?!? so if u want to get to the root of the problem... START WITH AMERICA!!!!


    December 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |