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FAMU President Gets Vote of No Confidence from Trustees

James Ammons. He's the public face of Florida A&M, in charge of steering the school through one of its most challenging times.

But FAMU's board of trustees are making it clear he's not doing nearly enough to combat hazing.

"The motion passes."

Thursday the board cast an 8-to-4 vote of no confidence in Ammons, and only after his critics held forth.

"I am deeply troubled by what appears to be serious lack of oversight and serious gaps in communication stemming from the top of this university organization, which is your role," said trustee Belinda Shannon.

They're accusing Ammons of failing to communicate, both to the board and the authorities, about the extent of what many call a campus-wide hazing epidemic.

Even before the death of drum major Robert Champion last fall, other hazings took place but weren't reported by the FAMU administration.

Ultimately, the vote may be more symbolic than anything.

Ammons now has a plan to reform the way the marching band and other campus clubs operate, with the goal of ending hazing, and he appears to have plenty of backing from faculty.

"Everybody stumbles," said FAMU professor Elizabeth Davenport. "It's how you get up and play the game from now on that counts."

And the stakes could be quite high. One trustee says if Ammons doesn't make significant changes to the way FAMU operates 'he'll be removed'.

The board plans to vote on Ammons' anti-hazing plan sometime before the school year begins. The plan is currently being reworked after some complained about the proposal to hire an anti-hazing special assistant.


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