FAMU President Resigns in Wake of Hazing Death
Decision follows no confidence vote by the board of trustees
CNN Wire Staff
July 11, 2012(CNN) -- The president of Florida A&M University announced his resignation Wednesday, more than seven months after the drum major for the university band died following a hazing incident.
James H. Ammons said in a statement he is leaving the post he has held for five years, effective this fall.
"After considerable thought, introspection and conversations with my family, I have decided to resign from my position as president in order to initiate my retirement on October 11, 2012," he wrote in a letter to the chairman of the school's board of trustees.
Ammons said he would remain as a tenured professor on the faculty.
The resignation comes after the November 19 death of Robert Champion, 26. Champion died within an hour of being badly beaten during a hazing incident on a band bus following a football game in Orlando, Florida. The ritual, called "Crossing Bus C," is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle while being assaulted by senior members, according to some university band members.
An autopsy found "extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back," and "evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat," the medical examiner reported, ruling the death a homicide.
A police investigation resulted in charges against 14 people. Eleven face one count of third-degree felony hazing resulting in death. Each also is accused of two counts of first-degree misdemeanor hazing. Three people each face a single count of misdemeanor first-degree hazing.
FAMU said it took steps to eradicate the problem of hazing after Champion's death, and the the board of trustees approved an anti-hazing plan that includes an independent panel of experts to investigate hazing allegations.
Since then, Julian White has retired as band director, the Florida A&M board of trustees issued a vote of no confidence against Ammons, and the marching band has been suspended through the 2012-2013 school year.
CNN's Adam Reiss contributed to this report