The trial for the 11 members of the Florida A&M marching band that were charged with hazing in the death of Robert Champion has been set for October 8th. However, with the number of individuals involved, and a variety of pre-trial motions anticipated, it is expected that the trial will be delayed for some time. Delays with this trial will also slow down the inevitable civil lawsuits. As in many cases, the initial criminal trial will go a long way to inform decision surrounding the civil cases.
The other news from last week is that President Ammons has denied the claims that several of his senior administrators recommended that the Marching 100 not participate in the Florida Classic. Understanding what really happened at that meeting, and what was shared with President Ammons, will be an important piece in determining the final outcome from the institution’s viewpoint.
Finally, on Friday, President Ammons appeared on the NPR News show Tell Me More. This interview helps to demonstrate the monumental task confronting President Ammons in trying to address these issues, and run the University, while under significant pressure from his Board of Trustees, and potentially facing civil charges as an individual. I continue to believe that he must step aside during this time of investigation and resolution of these issues. Florida A&M needs someone who is untainted by these allegations as a leader at this time. President Ammons is doing a disservice to the University, and is likely hurting his personal ability to respond, by continuing in his role as President. (As always, these opinions are mine, and mine alone, as informed by my reading of the media.)