FAMU President James Ammons (Courtesy Florida A&M University)
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.