As news of President James Ammons’ resignation swept through the Internet Wednesday, Florida A&M University’s alumni reacted with both surprise and relief.
“FAMU needs a clean sweep, maybe this was the start,” said criminal justice alumna Jamise Coyle, a graduate of the Spring 2012 class. “FAMU can only go up from here.”
After the hazing-related death of Robert Champion in November 2011, Ammons received negative reactions to his leadership throughout the situation.
“I was shocked when I first heard the announcement, I feel like Ammons didn’t get a chance to work with the university,” said Miaisha Mitchell, a healthcare management alumna from the School of Allied Health, class of 1985. “He wasn’t given an opportunity to correct the situation that was presented to him.”
The university’s Board of Trustees issued a vote of no-confidence in Ammons last month, but it seemed he was still determined to remain as president despite the board members’ decision. Marcus Joseph, a 2011 graduate from the newspaper journalism program, said that he felt Ammons’ choice to resign must have been a difficult one for him to make.
“Hopefully, issues and challenges at FAMU will be resolved in the near future,” Joseph said.
“I think it’s unfortunate that he had to resign due to circumstances that were probably beyond his control,” said Tyler Sherrod, a 2012 alumnus of the pharmacy program. “He did a lot of good things for FAMU during his time as president.”
Although the university is in the midst of struggle, the alumni choose to stand by FAMU. Curtis Ford, a 2012 graduate of the broadcast journalism program said changes happen all the time and it’s the duty of alumni to support the university in all aspects.
Ford thought that FAMU alumni could take a lesson from the alumni of Penn State in how they reacted after their scandal.
“Look at Penn State,” said Ford, “their alumni supported the heck out of their school after the Sandusky situation.” (Jerry Sandusky was an assistant football coach at Penn State until recently when allegations that he had abused 10 boys over the course of 15 years. He was recently found guilty of these charges)
A replacement for Ammons’ position has yet to be appointed, but the alumni are hopeful that the new president will be able to take control of the situation and lead the university towards a brighter future.
Kiara Latson, a 2010 political science graduate, said: “I applaud Ammons for all he’s done for our school. I hope the next president continues to strive for excellence for our university like president Ammons did. “