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News Clips 02/07/2013
State audit: FAMU spent $11,117 on ineligible band members during trip
Source: Orlando Sentinel, 02/06/13
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By Denise-Marie Ordway
FAMU spent $11,117 on food, lodging and transportation so that 65 ineligible marching band members could perform at a single football game in September 2011, according to a new report from the state Auditor General.
Florida A&M University has been widely criticized for allowing ineligible band members to travel with the famous ensemble. The Orlando Sentinel has reported that about 60 ineligible members were allowed to perform at the Florida Classic in Orlando in November 2011 — including three of those charged in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion after that football game.
The Sentinel estimated that at least $8,180 was spent on food and transportation alone for ineligible members for that trip.
It's not clear how many times over the years that FAMU spent money on ineligible band members, including those who were not FAMU students. The audit was not that comprehensive.
In the 30-page report, which details a host of problems uncovered during an audit of FAMU's operations during the 2011-12 school year, Auditor General David Martin also takes issue with the severance package given to former President James Ammons.
Ammons, who abruptly resigned last summer amid a scandal over hazing and other problems, was allowed to take a one-year, paid sabbatical and then return to FAMU afterward as a faculty member. State law, however, does not allow public employees to receive more than 20 weeks of severance pay.
Rick Givens, FAMU's vice president of audit and compliance, said the university is reviewing the Auditor General's report and will be preparing a response.
It was not immediately clear whether FAMU can change Ammons' severance arrangement. Givens said the agreement is being reviewed "to determine the appropriate course of action."