Reacting to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s call on Thursday for the immediate suspension of Florida A&M University (FAMU) President Dr. James Ammons in the wake of the hazing death of student Robert Champion, FAMU students organized a march to the Governor’s Mansion.
FAMU students used Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media to spread the word, filing into the grand ballroom to show that they were willing to fight for FAMU. While some students showed up in army fatigues, they ended up taking them off when they realized they might pose a safety issue.
Breyon Love, student body president, a fourth-year business administration student, and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, led the group of students to Lee Hall to organize their efforts prior to the march. Making sure that they did not march until they had received proper sanction to protest peacefully, the students marched on the sidewalk behind a police motorcade set up by FAMU students and officials.
Alexis Hinton, a sophomore health science student from Pascagoula, Miss., was one of the students in the march. Of the march, she says:
I feel as if the march was meaningful and it made a statement to let everyone know that we care about our university.
Students stood outside the governor’s residence until Scott, who had an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper shortly before, finally emerged with a small group of prominent FAMU alumni, including former Board of Trustees member R.B. Holmes, whom he had been hosting.
As Scott told assembled students that he “[came] from public housing,” students heckled the governor and did not allow him to finish his response. He also claimed he did not know anything about “merging” FSU with FAMU.
After the march, Love went into the mansion and spoke with Governor Scott about the situation for about an hour:
I was really upset with what he was trying to do,” said Love. “He was overstepping his boundaries as governor.