'We're planning something huge': FAMU students picket governor

Florida A&M president James Ammons
Thursday, a tweet went out from the Florida A&M student government: "Emergency mtg in the Grand Ballroom right now. Gov. Scott has recommended that Dr. Ammons be fired. We're planning something huge. Come!"

That "something huge" was a march on the Florida governor's mansion Thursday night.

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday called for Florida A&M President James Ammons to be suspended.  According to Reuters, Scott made the call because of Ammons' handling of alleged hazing of students that may have led to the death of band drum major Robert Champion. Multiple investigations have sprung up.

Hundreds of chanting students marched to the governor's mansion. Scott reportedly addressed the crowd, after which some accompanied him inside. Students later announced the governor had agreed to meet with President Ammons, according to 11Alive.com.

As the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, the investigation into the death last month of Champion revealed a new allegation of hazing.  A freshman band member plans to file suit after an attack she says took place just days before the death of drum major Champion.

In the second alleged hazing incident, Bria Hunter "was beaten by hands, fists, spatulas, metal rulers and book binders," said her attorney.

After graduating from high school in Georgia, Champion went on to become a drum major in the Florida A&M school band. He was found on a school bus, unresponsive, after a Nov. 19 football game. Authorities have said that hazing played a role, but they have not released details as they continue to investigate. The school’s band director, Julian White, was fired after the death, and at least four students have been expelled.

According to media reports, Florida investigations say they have uncovered possible fraud and misconduct as they were looking into the death of Champion. The inquiry is separate from the investigation into the suspected hazing.

Calls to Florida A&M for comment were not immediately returned.

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-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Florida A&M President James Ammons at a student rally in early December. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he wants Ammons ousted. Credit: Glenn Beil / Tallahassee Democrat

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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