The search for the next Florida A&M University president is underway while recently appointed interim president Dr. Larry Robinson assumes leadership again. Dr. Robinson is charged with the task of leading the University through several challenges including the civil lawsuit filed by the parents of drum major Robert Champion whose alleged hazing death put the University in a tailspin. Twelve Florida A&M Marching 100 band members have been arrested and charged with felony hazing and the fallout of the investigation of Champion’s death is a yet to be released report by the FDLE on the University’s financial practices.
Dante Martin, the “president” of the infamous “Bus C”, on which Robert Champion and two other band members were beaten, has also been charged with felony hazing. Martin’s arrest brought the number of band members facing the more serious hazing charge from eleven to twelve.
In a separate but related incident, Florida A&M University alumni and supporters were also shocked by the recent arrest of long-time and beloved University special events director, Tammy Hamlet. She was charged with padding her travel expense reports to the tune of over $1,800. Hamlet was terminated by University administration and is scheduled for trial in October.
As expected, Florida Memorial University president and former Florida A&M University interim president Dr. Henry Lewis and Fort Valley State University president and former Florida A&M University dean Dr. Larry Rivers are two of the names bandied about to become FAMU’s eleventh president. Interim President Dr. Robinson and the next permanent president will undoubtedly lead the University through its most difficult and vulnerable period in recent history.
To fill the void of the suspended Marching 100, Florida A&M University officials have designed half-time entertainment that includes local high school bands, DJs and rappers. The first home game, September 15, against Hampton University, features rapper Future. Many fans are curious as to how these plans will be received so stay tuned.
On a positive note, Florida A&M is ranked number five on the RateMyProfessors.com annual list of the “Top 25 Highest Rated Universities” in the nation. FAMU is the only Florida public institution to make the list of 7,500 schools.