Friday, May 11, 2012

Lawson: Ammons appears to be leaning against fielding Marching 100 in the fall

The Associated Press reports that former State Sen. Alfred "Al" Lawson, a strong ally of FAMU President James H. Ammons, believes the university head is "leaning toward keeping the band suspended."

"There is a considerable amount of pressure being placed on the university and the trustees about the band being able to perform in the fall," Lawson said. "But I think in the light of everything, though the university is going to have to go in a new direction."

Lawson has enjoyed a close working relationship with the FAMU president ever since he was appointed in 2007.

Ammons walked the halls of the Florida Legislature with Lawson in order to successfully lobby for millions of construction dollars for the school. The former state senator, now a Congressional candidate, joined a protest student against Gov. Rick Scott's attempt to pressure Ammons to temporarily step down back in December. Lawson stood by Ammons’ side when he met with Scott the next day for a face-to-face discussion of the suspension request.

The FAMU president will discuss the Marching 100's future during a special teleconference with university trustees on Monday. His final decision about whether the band should play in the fall will come after days of input from various support groups within the FAMU family.

"I have asked the Internal Crisis Management Team to speak with our supporters, such as faculty student leaders, the alumni, the boosters and the Athletic Department, over the next two days to hear their input about the conditions for bring the band back," Ammons wrote on May 8. "I will receive a report summarizing this input at the conclusion of their meetings."

The university has already started considering alternate entertainment options for next year’s halftime shows.

"We're going to make sure we stay in tune with what the university's doing, but also have plan A, B and C just in case we have to use those options," FAMU Athletic Director Derek Horne said in an article published by Reuters.

In a statement released yesterday, Ammons also formally acknowledged the resignation of former Director of Bands Julian E. White.

“We wish him well in his retirement," Ammons said. "Given his position as department chair and director of bands, we must focus on moving forward with changes to the music department and the marching band."

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