Chairman: BOG Remains Concerned About FAMU

By: Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida
By: Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida


Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

On the same day that Florida A&M University President James Ammons spelled out how to deal with the fallout of a hazing scandal that has rocked the university's band, the chairman of the Florida Board of Governors outlined a series of concerns it wants the school to address in Ammons' next evaluation.

"The Board of Governors remains concerned with the number of serious issues that continue to mount at Florida A&M University," chairman Dean Colson wrote in a letter to Solomon Badger, who chairs the FAMU board.

Among the areas Colson outlined his letter:

--Questions about how individuals who were not enrolled in mandatory courses were allowed to participate in the Marching 100 band;

--The university's response to allegations of sexual assault against minors at the university's Developmental Research School; and

--Whisteblower complaints that the conclusions of some audit and investigative reports were reached before any work on the reports was actually begun.

Colson's letter also seems to leave open the BOG's options to weigh in more strongly on Ammons' future if the concerns raised by the letter aren't addressed by the board of trustees, which he wrote is initially responsible for overseeing the FAMU administration.

"At the same time, the Board of Governors has retained the responsibility, through the evaluation process, to ensure that a university's chief executive officer is providing appropriate leadership and oversight for all aspects of university operations, including compliance with systemwide regulations," Colson wrote.

"As you conduct the President's evaluation for the 2011-12 fiscal year, we expect the Florida A&M Board of Trustees to include the issues raised in this letter and consult with me, as Chair of the Board of Governors, and Chancellor [Frank] Brogan on the President's performance in these critical areas," Colson continued.

The letter came just days before the FAMU board holds a retreat and meeting Wednesday and Thursday, and on the same day that Ammons released some proposals for dealing with the Marching 100. Eleven people were charged in the November beating death of drum major Robert Champion, which prosecutors have alleged was part of a hazing.

Ammons said the university would hire a special assistant for anti-hazing efforts and will restructure oversight of the band and music department while placing more restrictions on band membership.

"The new FAMU Special Assistant for Anti-Hazing will work closely with faculty, staff and students to enforce our hazing-free campus code and address any and all potential issues related to hazing," Ammons said in a statement. "This individual will help drive home the message that hazing by anyone will not be tolerated."

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