TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Florida A&M University Provost Larry Robinson will take over the duties of president of the school following a unanimous vote Monday of the university trustees, which an hour earlier had accepted the immediate resignation of President James Ammons.
Under scrutiny since the hazing death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion, Ammons stepped down Monday instead of waiting until October as he proposed last week when he first tendered his resignation to the FAMU Board of Trustees.
Ammons had planned on staying on for 90 days but instead will go on sabbatical and then return to the university as a tenured professor.
The board appointed Robinson, a popular administrator among faculty and staff, to replace Ammons, but will return in August to decide whether Robinson stays on officially as interim president until a permanent president is found.
Robinson calls the appointment an honor and a privilege and he plans to put together a plan to bring stability to the university. Robinson has worked at FAMU since 1997 and served as interim president once before in 2007.
“I think FAMU right now needs immediate stability,” said Trustee Marissa West, the FAMU student body president. “I don’t think we can afford to be left vulnerable and I think we need to ensure a very smooth transition in the upcoming days, months, weeks.”
Trustees have complained about a lack of oversight of the band and the school has also come under scrutiny for a number of other problems, some related to graduation, retention and enrollment rates, some related to accounting irregularities, and allegations of sexual assault at the university’s affiliated elementary-middle-high school.
Thirteen band members have been charged in Champion’s death. Of those, 11 face felony hazing charges and could face up to six years in prison. Two others were charged with misdemeanors. They have pleaded not guilty.
As part of the termination agreement, Ammons will receive a 25 percent bonus for his performance during the 2010/11 school year based on an outside evaluation.
Ammons will also receive a 5 percent bonus for meeting mutually agreed upon goals for the 2011/12 academic year. As president, Ammons’ base salary was about $325,000.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”