The fallout from the death of Florida A&M University Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion continues to have ripple effects throughout the university and the nation. The famed Marching 100 has been suspended until further notice.
Dr. Julian E. White, the director of bands, was fired then later reinstated and put on administrative leave with pay. University President James Ammons was reprimanded by the BOT. Even officials in Dekalb County, GA have suspended band activities.
And last week as hundreds of FAMU graduates celebrated their completion of degrees in Tallahassee, the autopsy report was released. The final ruling was homicide. There will likely be arrest and a homicide trial to come.
In the midst of all of this Governor Rick Scott has since asked the FDLE to assist with this investigation and at the same time has managed to ruffle a few keys on the ebony and ivory keyboard. Nothing unusual from the politician who hasn’t even celebrated a year in office yet and has had his share of controversial decisions and quotes.
Recently he added another to his resume when he was addressing a group of student protesters that marched to the governors mansion after yet another controversial suggestion, the suspension of FAMU Pres. James Ammons. Scott was asked a question about educational funding (why this question is being asked at a rally protesting the suspension of Ammons, I don’t know). Scott began his reply with “I came from public housing”, to which one student shouted “Not all of us are poor!”
Oops. That’s like me addressing a convention of Chinese Food Enthusiast and beginning my keynote address by saying “I ate a lot of rice while growing up so I know why you guys love Chinese food”. Not all Chinese people eat rice! His statement sounds frighteningly familiar to what Scott said while addressing black lawmakers this past February (“I grew up in the same situation as you guys”). Scott could have left well enough alone by asking the FDLE to help with the investigation, but going and suggesting that the president to be suspending touched the nerve of a lot of people. Especially black people.
There are already murmurs that Scott wants to close FAMU and merge it with FSU. Heck those murmurs were around when I was in school in the 90’s. But why suspend Ammons and why now?
There have been other deaths (by hazing or not) at other Florida universities, and none of those in charge at those institutions were asked to step by. Especially by the state’s highest ranking politician. Is this his opportunity to make an example going forward? Or yet another chance to throw his weight around as governor?
Whatever the case, it didn’t sit well with the BOT as they decided against it and Scott had no choice but to agree with their decision. The investigation is ongoing and if the BOT feels that Ammons knew about and supported a culture of hazing at FAMU then they BOT will deal with him accordingly.
Noticeably quiet in all of Scott’s missteps with the black community is Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll. Caribbean born and American raised, Carroll has been non verbal in almost all of the controversy surrounding Scott. They have what has been reported as an “awkward relationship between the two”. Would I be wrong in assuming that Carroll doesn’t like one bit the way Scott is handling this investigation and situation at FAMU?
Could I presume that her silence in this is her way of leaving the Governor to climb out of his own pile of crap? If anyone near the governor can somewhat help him maneuver through the intricacies of dealing with non-whites, it’s his black Lt. Governor right?
Or I could be wrong in all of my assumptions. Just like assuming that all Black people grew up bad situations or in public housing. Or that all Chinese people eat rice.