Champion's Parents React to FAMU Decision

FAMU President James Ammons
FAMU President James Ammons

Updated on Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET

FAMU President James Ammons will keep his job, thanks to his university board of trustees.


A week after Florida Gov. Rick Scott vigorously pushed for his ouster, board members decided that a united front is better than a divided one. "We will stand firm against outside influence, no matter how well intended," Solomon Badger, the FAMU board chairman, said during a board meeting that was held by conference call.

Scott believed that the alleged hazing death of marching-band drum major Robert Champion and various other incidents called for the president's termination. He said, however, that he would abide by the board's decision. FAMU students protested outside the governor's office last week and derided his involvement in the case.

Ammons and university leaders have been criticized for not bringing the hammer down on their popular Marching 100 band, which has come under fire since the death of Champion on Nov. 19. Among the critics are his parents, who say the board made the wrong decision. "He should've had some type of control over the students, the faculty and all the people he put in place to keep those kids safe," Robert's father, Robert G. Champion, said of Ammons, according to "If he wasn't on top of what was going on, I feel that appropriate action should be taken."

His mother, Pam Champion, echoed those sentiments: "Ultimately, [Ammons is] responsible. He's the head."

The board has decided to meet for the next 60 days on a weekly basis while the investigations continue.

While we understand why the students might feel as if their school is under attack, the acceptance of this culture for decades on this college campus means that the individual running the school deserves to go. Firing the band director is not enough. All this university is showing is how defensive it is about all of the criticism.


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