FAMU HAZING UPDATE: President James Ammons Resigns!

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robert champion famuTALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M President James Ammons has resigned the same day parents of a drum major who died after being hazed added the university to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Ammons resigned Wednesday in a letter to the university governing board.

Robert Champion died in November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a football game against the school’s archrival.

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Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in the hazing. They have pleaded not guilty.

Champion’s death put a spotlight on hazing at the school and led to the suspension of the band until at least next year.

The lawsuit brought by Champion’s parents claims FAMU officials didn’t take enough action to stop hazing.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The parents of a Florida A&M University drum major who died after being hazed added the university to a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday, claiming school officials failed to stop hazing in its famous marching band.

The lawsuit brought by Robert Champion’s parents claims Florida A&M University officials did not take action to stop hazing even though a school dean proposed suspending the band because of hazing concerns three days before their son died. School officials also allowed nonstudents to play in the band, fell short in enforcing anti-hazing policies and did not keep a close eye on band members to prevent hazing, the lawsuit said.

School officials “failed to properly supervise, train, discipline and control the FAMU Band,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit seeks damages greater than $15,000, but does not give a specific amount.

FAMU spokeswoman Pamela Tolson didn’t immediately return a phone call.

Champion died in November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a football game against the school’s archrival.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in the hazing. They have pleaded not guilty.

Champion’s death put a spotlight on hazing at the school and led to the suspension of the band until at least next year.

Champion’s parents, Robert and Pamela, have already sued the bus company, claiming the driver stood guard outside while the hazing took place. The company said the driver was helping band members with their equipment.

Florida A&M University trustees were added as defendants to the lawsuit, which was to be refiled later Wednesday. Under state law, Champions parents had to wait six months before they could include the university in the lawsuit since it’s a state entity.

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