Ammons Speaks Out on Hazing

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL -- May 29, 2012 --

Police interviews with band members who were hazed the same night that FAMU Drum major Robert Champion died from hazing, show how ingrained the practice is among band members.

“I’d be mad if they really didn’t let me cross,” band member Lisette Sanchez said.

Police also expressed surprise that some band members on the deadly trip weren’t even students.

“How’s that possible? How does that work?” Orange County Detective Vance Voyles asked.

“I loved the band so I kept marching,” band member Caleb Jackson replied.

Next week, FAMU Trustees will get a comprehensive recommendation from the school’s president, aimed at ending the hazing culture once and for all.

“We think that it’s important for us to have like a compliance officer to deal with some of the issues we have around non-students performing in the band to ensure that everyone is properly enrolled,” FAMU president, Dr. James Ammons, said. “That they are making sufficient academic progress.”

A web site and possibly a hot line will be recommended to make it easier to report hazing incidents.

“So we’ll have someone like a hazing czar, if you will, who will monitor the student organizations on the campus,” Ammons said.

The FAMU president wouldn’t discuss the evidence that’s come out so far in the criminal case, saying it could impact the lawsuit that’s expected to be filed by Robert Champion’s parents.

Ammons also would not speak to whether the University has reached out to the drum majors family about settling the yet-to-be-filed lawsuit.


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  • by Being nice will cost you your career on May 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM
    This plan to stop the ritual is being done why? You already have it stop and your jobs are secure. Keep the band suspended, otherwise the only thing you will accomplish is the band members helping you to destroy your career. You saw what they did to the band directors career. You reinstate them they will do the same to your career. They already posted in allowed to be reinstated they would not stop hazing. Don't loose your career trying to be nice and give them back the band all you are going to do is give them the opportunity to do you in.
  • by maybe on May 30, 2012 at 09:56 AM
    I wonder if all this hazing could be traced back to the slave days. kind of like alot of people still eat what was available to slaves. Maybe the beatings are simalar slaves and hazing beatings.
    • reply
      by Jim on May 30, 2012 at 01:48 PM in reply to maybe
      You mean like food?
      • reply
        by maybe on May 30, 2012 at 02:23 PM in reply to Jim
        You know what I mean pigs feat chittlens all the stuff the masters did not want. You are right though it was food better than no food.
    • reply
      by Interesting point on May 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM in reply to maybe
      That's a good point about slaves beating slaves. The blasks who beat Robert Champion and God knows how many before him have become the "Massa." In white fraternities, the brothers haze by pouring alcohol down the pledge's throat, blindfolding them and leaving them underneath a house (true story years ago) overnight, but they don't BEAT, WHIP, Hit, etc. Hey FAMU Red Dogs: How do you like being the MASSA? You like it, don't you????? Rape is power; power is rape.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on May 30, 2012 at 09:10 AM
    Yeah yeah yeah..... It aaaaaalll fun and games until somebody gets knocked down, knocked out, or knocked up, right Ammons? You're just trying to keep your job now, right Ammons? Move over guys, I'll do it. Hey Ammons, GET OUT - YOU'RE FIRED!!
  • by For Real on May 30, 2012 at 08:49 AM
    Ammon's will be going to jail along with Dr. White for fraud of band money and grants. The school is about to loose all acredidation. Hazing is only a small piece of the problems FAMU is facing on jail charges. Dr. Ammon's should resigned before being taken out in handcuff's......
  • by Repubtallygirl Location: Crawfordville on May 30, 2012 at 07:24 AM
    As an Alumni of FAMU, I say, DISMANTLE the Band for 10 years and try again. This is a serious problem.
  • by Jim Location: Gadsden County on May 30, 2012 at 06:06 AM
    Too late. Anyone can speak out after the fact. A true leader that had control of the university should have known this type of abuse was taking place in the band. It was obvious the band was out of control. With unknown band members from who knows where. Free travel and meals on the taxpayers. Ammons has not lived up to his billing as a university president. Leaders are proactive. Leaders do not lead from behind....Or after the fact.
  • by gaboy Location: ga on May 30, 2012 at 05:39 AM
    this will never stop....... close the school burn the uniforms!!! all in charge must be held accountable!!!! they are well aware what was going on...
  • by gaboy Location: ga on May 30, 2012 at 05:39 AM
    this will never stop....... close the school burn the uniforms!!! all in charge must be held accountable!!!! they are well aware what was going on...
  • by Paul on May 30, 2012 at 05:19 AM
    A hazing Czar would have to come from 'outside' the FAMU tradition. Ultimately only the students themselves can change this culture. If they could see those involved in hazing as anti band and FAMU perhaps the culture could change. Once the university and the majority of students (the real students) can go back to the academic world of study this will fade but hopefully will not be forgotten. Within organizations like the band, any whiff of hazing should elicit an immediate response from the students to protect their university. Ultimately the tradition of hazing must be destroyed. All future leaders of these groups must come from outside. Perhaps even a radical change to the band uniforms to emphasize internal changes. No, that would be expensive.
  • by Anonymous on May 30, 2012 at 04:42 AM
    Well its about time he said something
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