The president of Florida A&M University said after a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott on Friday that he would consider stepping aside while the investigation into the hazing rituals and finances of the school’s famous “Marching 100” band continues, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
President James Ammons’ statement came on commencement day for FAMU, adding a touch of dissonance to a day on which Scott came under fire for his recommendation and Orange County medical examiners officially ruled the hazing death of Robert Champion a homicide.
Ammons and Scott met for about 40 minutes the day after the governor called for Ammons to be suspended at a special meeting of the FAMU board of trustees scheduled for Monday morning.
“He thought that it was in the best interest of the university and myself, that there wouldn’t be any questions about how the investigation would be carried out by stepping aside, letting the investigations be complete, and then come back after,” Ammons said.
Asked if he agreed with the governor’s recommendation, Ammons said: “It’s something that I’m considering.”
But Scott faced an onslaught of criticism from FAMU students — hundreds of whom gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday evening — and graduates of the school.
Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, issued a scalding statement calling for Scott to back down.