More than seven months after a Florida A&M University student died after a hazing incident, the president of the school has announced his resignation. President James Ammons' resignation comes after months of scrutiny of how he and the school handled the death of drum major Robert Champion.
FAMU President James Ammons announced his resignation Wednesday, more than seven months after the hazing death of Robert Champion (pictured).
Champion died Nov. 19, hours after being beaten on the school band's bus following a football game in Orlando. In the initiation known as "Crossing Bus C," Champion was forced to run down the aisle of the bus while being punched and battered by his fellow band members, according to CNN. The death was ruled a homicide after the medical examiner found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back" as well as "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat."
Police have charged 14 people in the incident, CNN reports. Eleven face one count of third-degree felony hazing resulting in death and two counts of first-degree misdemeanor hazing apiece. Three people each face a single count of misdemeanor first-degree hazing.
Since the incident the band director has retired, the marching band has been suspended through 2012-2013, and the school's trustees decided in an 8-4 decision in a vote of no confidence for Ammons.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Ammons' letter of resignation never specifically mentions hazing, although he does state his wish to help Florida A&M move past the problems it currently faces. Ammons sent the letter to trustees just before 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Champion's family is expected to file a lawsuit against the university the same day, alleges Newser.
Champion's parents accuse Ammons of inaction both before and after their son's death. The lawsuit accuses him and the school of allowing nonstudents to play in Florida A&M's marching band and failing to implement anti-hazing policies that went far enough, according to the Huffington Post. The trustees vote of no confidence in the school president could be seen as agreement to those claims, although the board has also been named to the list of defendants in the suit.
The lawsuit seeks damages exceeding $15,000, although there's no specific amount, reports MSNBC.
The Champion family also sued the bus company, alleging the driver stood by while the abuse took place.
Ammons wrote that his resignation won't take until Oct. 11.
State Sen. David Simmons is calling for committee hearings to look into FAMU's hazing, financial, academics, and other "significant" problems, said the Orlando Sentinel.
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