Chancellor: Don't Reinstate FAMU Band Yet; Ammons Responds

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Tallahassee, FL -- May 11, 2012 --

Chancellor Frank Brogan called on Florida A&M University to continue the suspension of its Marching 100 band. FAMU President, Dr. James Ammons, responded to that call for action with a letter to Chancellor Brogan which is as follows:

May 11, 2012

Chancellor Frank Brogan
State University System of Florida
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1614
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Dear Chancellor Brogan:

First, I would like to thank you for your input regarding the conditions for reinstatement of the marching band at Florida A&M University (FAMU). You input will join a series of discussions we have held internally and with various external stakeholders. I really welcomed your letter because it provided me with the opportunity to gain a point of view from State University System (SUS) leadership.

I also want to thank you for the support that you have provided to FAMU while we address issues related to the loss of Robert Champion. Our hearts and our prayers continue to go out to his family and others adversely impacted by this situation. I know that many students, alumni and friends of the university have strong feelings about the band’s status for the fall. Our goal, however, is to do what is in the best interest of FAMU and to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our students. We will also do everything within our power to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

As you know I will discuss this matter with the Board of Trustees at a called meeting on Monday, May 14, at 11:00am. Following this meeting, I will share with the Board of Governors and you what transpired.


James H. Ammons

cc: Dean Colson, Chairman, SUS Board of Governors
Solomon L. Badger, III, Chairman, FAMU Board of Trustees


Tallahassee, FL -- May 10, 2012 --

Chancellor Frank Brogan called on Florida A&M University to continue the suspension of its Marching 100 band on the same day that the band's longtime director retired in the wake of a deadly hazing.

Julian White's retirement announcement came two days after FAMU President James Ammons sent a letter to the board of trustees responding to 11 arrests of people involved in connection with the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion and outlining how about 100 band members were not enrolled in FAMU at the time of Champion's death.

Champion, 26, was allegedly beaten to death in a ritual hazing on board a charter bus during a band trip to Orlando in November. His death prompted university officials to suspend activities of the vaunted marching band while the investigation continued.

But in his letter, Ammons suggested he was considering allowing the band to resume its activities while the university's anti-hazing committee continues its work.

"Therefore, I have asked the Internal Crisis Management Team to speak with our supporters, such as faculty, student leaders, the alumni, the boosters and the Athletic Department, over the next two days to hear their input about the conditions for bringing the band back," Ammons wrote.

Ammons is scheduled to hold a conference call with the board Monday about the band.

Brogan responded Thursday, asking Ammons to hold off on reinstating the band while investigations continue.

The chancellor argued that the ongoing prosecutions in Champion's death, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement probe into "financial irregularities" inside the band, the work of FAMU's anti-hazing task force and questions about the enrollment issues were reason enough to hold back.

"Reinstating the band prior to these issues being resolved would side-step efforts under way, which could impact the band's long-term survival," Brogan wrote. "Reconciling these and other issues under investigation will ensure that the institution's operational priorities and controls are in place."

Brogan also said that he and the Board of Governors supported FAMU, but that the continuing revelations that have followed Champion's death were beginning to take their toll.

"At the same time, our concerns continue to mount regarding the ever-increasing body of issues that harm the institution, its students and, therefore, our State University System as a whole," the chancellor wrote.


FAMU’s Board of Trustees Schedules a Called Meeting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Board of Trustees has scheduled a called meeting for Monday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to noon to receive an update from President Ammons regarding the band. The call-in number is 1-800-309-9169 and the conference ID number is 81170434.

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