Members of the Florida A&M band lead a horse-drawn carriage carrying the casket of fellow band member Robert Champion, …
The president of Florida A&M University has resigned in the wake of a hazing scandal that's rocked the school.
James Ammons announced his resignation in a letter to FAMU's chairman on Wednesday, the same day the parents of Robert Champion Jr.--a band member who died last fall following a hazing ritual on a bus--filed a lawsuit against the school. Ammons' resignation is effective Oct. 11.
According to the Associated Press, the school's board of trustees gave Ammons a vote of no confidence last month. Critics say FAMU's dean and campus police chief police had warned the school about the band's hazing rituals, but Ammons ignored them.
Champion, a drum major, was beaten to death with drumsticks and bass-drum mallets, according to more than 1,500 pages of evidence released by prosecutors.
Eleven band members are facing felony hazing charges in Champion's Nov. 19 death. One of them told investigators that Champion wanted to be hazed.
"It's a respect thing, you know," Jonathan Boyce said, according to a deposition included in the documents released by the Florida District Attorney's Office. "Well, he was wanting to do it all ... all season."
Two band members initially denied that they were on the bus when Champion was beaten, but one—Caleb Jackson—admitted he was present after a hotel surveillance video showed him exiting the bus.
Keon Hollis, a fellow drum major, told investigators he was subjected to the same hazing ritual that Champion was on the bus parked outside an Orlando hotel.
Champion "seemed fine immediately afterward, but said he was thirsty," Hollis told detectives.
Champion collapsed and later died. According to an autopsy, Champion suffered blunt force trauma to his body and died from shock due to severe bleeding.
Boyce told police that he tried to get Champion off the bus.
"So I grab him to try to keep everybody off him and I grab him and I'm pulling him and I'm pulling him," Boyce told detectives. "People are kicking him so I stopped them from kicking him and I put my body around his body."