FAMU students looking ahead following resignation of school's president James Ammons

3:04 PM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- Some students at Florida A&M University say they are sorry to see James Ammons step down as president, but they believe it's the best choice for the school's future.

On Thursday, there was some activity on campus as FAMU welcomed incoming freshman for an orientation, but the students will start school this fall with the university dealing with a transition in leadership.

James Ammons submitted his resignation on Wednesday after leading the school for five years. His leadership was ultimately doomed by the hazing-related death of FAMU band member Robert Champion and a host other problems, including incomplete financial audits and low graduation rates.

Only 12 percent of students graduate in four years - the lowest rate in Florida's university system.

FAMU student Chris Williams thinks Ammons' resignation is best for the school to move forward.

"Even though Dr. Ammons was one of the best presidents the university has ever had, amid all the scandal and everything it will be best to just start from scratch. Penn State had to do it. I know a couple of people at Syracuse had to leave when they had that issue going on. So from my perspective I feel there just needs to be a change of people here."

Student Antonelli Jean-Guillaume echoes those comments, saying Ammons bears the responsibility for what happened on his watch.

"I don't fault him for stepping down but it kind of leaves a power vacuum and people are a little bit confused. But it's the right thing to do. It's never the easy thing to do. I'm a freshman and so I'm going to adjust and everyone else has decided to adjust because that's a piece of history that we've decided we want to leave behind and it's rather ugly. With him leaving, it just leaves everything else with it behind so we can just start over fresh."

Ammons took over as president five years ago amid great hopes that he could fix longstanding problems at the university.

Ammons will keep a job at FAMU and become a tenured professor, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math initiatives. His resignation takes effect October 11.

Dave Heller

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