TALLAHASSEE—FAMU students gathered on campus late this evening in an unorganized, spur-of-the-moment rally. They decided they would march in protest Gov. Rick Scott’s call for FAMU President James Ammons’s suspension.
Students marched from Lee Hall to the Governor’s Mansion in Frenchtown. The Tallahassee Police Department scrambled to secure a path for the students to use. Officers blocked main roads, including Tennessee Street at Adams Street, while students marched.
Students arrived at the mansion just as extra law enforcement personnel did. Two black Ford Explorers pulled into the private drive while students swarmed the park out front.
Student body president, Breyon Love, said over 3,000 students were there although the number appeared to be closer to 800.
Around 10 p.m., students arrived at the mansion. They began chanting, hoping to wake the governor. If they did not wake the governor, his chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, did.
MacNamara came out to the protesters and, through the fence, talked to a few organizers.
“He just got back from Israel,” said MacNamara. “They woke him up, and I’ve asked him to come down.”
MacNamara took a few people with him to the private steps of the mansion—Student Body President Love and former trustee Reverend R.B. Holmes, a Bethel Baptist Church pastor.
Scott greeted the men at the door, then walked out the path in a gray 2003 Super Bowl sweatshirt and gray sweatpants.
Love told Scott, via bullhorn, he wanted the recommendation for Ammons’s suspension be rescinded.
“We are not going to leave,” said Love, “until you rescind your recommendation. We are not going to leave.”
Scott did not take back what he said, telling the students about a conversation he had with Ammons earlier.
“I said to [Ammons], ‘you want to make sure everyone knows that there is no question that you want a full and thorough investigation,'” said Scott.
Despite repeated attempts to change his mind, Scott did not rescind his recommendation. In closing, Love told him students planned to stay on the lawn all night.
Some students brought study materials and were finishing study guides. Some students posed for photos on the lighted lawn ornaments.
About 30 minutes later, Scott asked to see Love and Holmes again in the foyer of the mansion. There is no word yet what they spoke about.