ORLANDO — Florida A&M University's Board of Trustees voted Thursday to publicly reprimand the school's president rather than place him on leave following the death of a band member that detectives have indicated was hazing related.
The 8-4 reprimand vote came in place of a motion to put FAMU President James Ammons on administrative leave until the criminal investigation into drum major Robert Champion's death Nov. 19 is done.
Band director Julian White was put on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, and board member Rufus Montgomery said Ammons should be treated the same.
Some board members, however, worried about creating a leadership vacuum if Ammons was put on leave just as the school is under harsh scrutiny.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office is leading the criminal investigation into Champion's death. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Board of Governors, the state's governing body for public higher education, also are investigating.
The board's student representative, Breyon Love, said most of the school's 13,000 students would be upset if Ammons was forced to take a leave.
School officials said that four students who were expelled for their role in Champion's death have returned to classes.
The FDLE asked the university to stop disciplinary actions until a criminal inquiry is done.