Gov. Scott denies he's trying to 'influence' Florida A&M

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With the possibility that a national accrediting agency could frown on Gov. Rick Scott’s suggestion that Florida A&M President James Ammons step aside during a hazing investigation, the governor late Sunday defended his interest in the university’s probe, reports David Royse of the News Service of Florida.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which is the accrediting organization for the Tallahassee school, has a clause in its accrediting criteria that says universities must be free from political influence. The association reportedly warned Scott this week about interfering with the university, though officials in Scott’s office told the News Service of Florida late Friday that they had received no such letter.

But on Sunday, after FAMU’s Alumni Association President, Tommy Mitchell, held a hastily called news conference to warn about the governor’s actions, Scott took the unusual step of sending out a defense of his actions involving the university and its president.

“I merely suggested it would be wise for Dr. Ammons to step aside until these investigations are completed,” Scott said in a statement sent to the media.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.