FAMU president James Ammons receives no-confidence vote

University board of trustees vote on proposed band reforms

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida A&M University President James Ammons has received a no-confidence vote from the school's board of trustees because of his handling of the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

According to the Associated Press, Ammons received the no confidence vote from the school's trustees but has vowed to stay. It's not clear what this means for Ammons and the university.

The board voted 8 to 4 Thursday to approve the no-confidence measure. Ammons won't quit and said he would fix any problems

The school has been reeling since the November death of drum major Robert Champion. Eleven members of the school's Marching 100 band have been charged with felony hazing for allegedly beating him to death. The death exposed a wide culture of hazing at the school. Critics say Ammons and other administrators ignored it.
Ammons became president in 2007 following a budget scandal that threatened the school's accreditation. He signed a five-year contract extension last year.

Meanwhile, the board of trustees is voting on major changes on Thursday proposed in the wake of the hazing death of Robert Champion.

Board members said the reforms are sweeping, ranging from new academic positions to new requirements for the famed Marching 100 band. The board wants to place a four-year limit on being a band member, require all band members be enrolled as full time students, limit band practice to 20 hours a week and enforce stricter academic requirements.

The board also wants to create a special anti-hazing assistant who will report directly to the presidents. The position would be a compliance officer for the music department to make sure the rules are being followed and give students a chance to report hazing through an anonymous anti-hazing website and Facebook page.

The parents of drum major Robert Champion who died in 2011 after a hazing incident, say the changes are a necessity.

"Let them know how serious this is," said mother Pam Champion. "Not only what it does to an individual but that it could happen to you. You have to look at the history and the culture and what the hazing whole process is."

The meeting is scheduled to go through 2 p.m. If FAMU approves the recommendations it could cost as much as $350,000 a year to hire the new employees.

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