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FAMU president James Ammons resigns as Robert Champion's parents sue

12:09 AM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
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  • FAMU President James Ammons (Courtesy Florida A&M University)
  • Robert Champion
    
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* FAMU trustees to discuss anti-hazing plan
* Defendant: Robert Champion wanted to be hazed
* Families of slain black men call for end to violence
* 2 FAMU hazing suspects plead guilty to lesser charges
* FAMU marching band to remain suspended through 2013
* FAMU band director retires in wake of Champion's death
* Last FAMU hazing suspect surrenders
* 10 arrested in FAMU hazing death
* Lawyer: FAMU band should be disbanded
* Authorities to file charges in FAMU hazing death
* Police: FAMU faculty involved in band hazing
* Evidence handed over in Robert Champion investigation
* Lawsuit details Champion's final moments
* Robert Champion's family suing bus company
* FAMU president stops students from joining clubs
* Authorities investigating another hazing case at FAMU
* 4 FAMU students arrested for hazing
* FAMU officials discuss fallout of Champion's death
* Witnesses: Champion targeted due to sexuality
* FAMU trustees will create anti-hazing committee
* Autopsy details revealed in Champion's death
* Champion's parents to Ammons: 'You are responsible'
* FAMU drum major's death ruled homicide
* FAMU hazing victim: 'I was made an example of'
* Investigators claim to have uncovered fraud at FAMU
* FAMU officials held anti-hazing meeting days before Champion's death
* PHOTOS | Robert Champion's funeral
* FAMU band director: Champion looked like he had passed out
* 911 call released in Champion's death
* 4 FAMU students dismissed in wake of Champion's death
* Family to sue FAMU following Champion's death
* Former FAMU band member: Directors knew about hazing

ATLANTA -- Florida A&M President James Ammons has announced plans to resign the same day parents of a drum major who died after being hazed added the university to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Ammons submitted his resignation letter Wednesday to the chair of FAMU's trustee board. In the letter, Ammons said he will begin his period of "transitioning-out" of his role, and plans to retire October 11th.

In a written statement, board chairman Dr. Solomon Badger said while he is "saddened by President Ammons decision to resign...it seems to be in the best interest of the University."

Robert Champion died in November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a football game against the school's archrival.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in the hazing. They have pleaded not guilty.

Dr. Ammons' resignation leaves one more empty slot for the university to fill. In May, long-time band director Dr. Julian White resigned from his post as head of the school's music department. FAMU has since appointed an interim department head, but the director position remains empty. Last month, Ammons received a vote of no confidence from the board.

In a scheduled conference call Wednesday afternoon to discuss the school's budget, trustee board member Rufus Montgomery called the president's resignation "unexpected" and "unanticipated."

"We need to talk about this right away," he said.

The board will meet Monday morning to discuss how to deal with the resignation.

FAMU's Marching 100 band has been suspended through the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

The university's ties run deep in Atlanta. Every year, fans pack the Georgia Dome for the Atlanta Football Classic where FAMU plays every year. The Marching 100 headlines the halftime show.

With more than 3000 members, Atlanta FAMU Alumni Association president James McLemore said Atlanta has the most FAMU alum of any city outside of Florida. 

"It's hurtful because kind of a dark cloud is upon the university," McLemore said. "Even though the president may change, the alums, we still support the university."

The lawsuit brought by Champion's parents claims FAMU officials didn't take enough action to stop hazing.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

(Associated Press)

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