Trustees to Meet Monday on Ammons’ Resignation

For the second time in five years, Florida A& M will be without a president. Following President James Ammons’ resignation Wednesday, the Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss leadership for the university.

At that time, board members are expected to discuss whether to place Ammons on administrative leave until his resignation becomes effective Oct. 11. If Ammons is placed on administrative leave, the BOT may opt to select an interim president.

The decision to meet Monday came at the end of Wednesday’s called BOT meeting when members were scheduled to discuss athletic department and Booster’s budgets.
BOT Chairman Solomon Badger requested a face to face meeting instead of a call in meeting because of the “severity” of the matter. He would like the face to face meeting to be held between July 15 and August. The next regular BOT meeting is scheduled for September.

Trustee Rufus Montgomery recited a newly enacted by-law calling for a mandatory emergency meeting regarding the resignation of President Ammons as early as Friday.

“This is so important that we cannot wait. Penn State made a decision in a matter of days. They fired their president,” Montgomery said. “We are not firing our president.”

Trustee Narayan Persaud, who is president of the Faculty Senate, agreed that the resignation of the president was too important to miss. Persaud suggested a meeting on Monday instead of Friday.

The call-in meeting is set for 9 a.m. Monday, when board members are expected to discuss in greater detail the effects of Ammons’ resignation and also to determine the university’s next steps.

If the BOT opts to hire an interim president, that wouldn’t be unprecedented for the university. Henry Lewis III, then dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, was appointed interim president in early 2002 when Frederick Humphries left the presidency after 16 years.

Fred Gainous was appointed president in May 2002. After two tumultuous years, he was replaced by Castell Bryant, who was appointed interim president in December 2004. Bryant, FAMU’s first woman president, served as interim until she resigned May 2007. Ammons was hired as president two months later.

During his early tenure, Ammons was credited with helping the university regain its financial footing after years of critical audits and threatened accreditation. He received good evaluations and bonuses from the BOT for the first few years, but in his last evaluation he was criticized for issues in the audit and compliance office and elsewhere.

The goodwill was further eroded following Robert Champion’s hazing death on Nov. 19. 2011.

After months of criticism, university trustees issued an 8-4 no confidence vote against Ammons in June.