FAMU Lifts Marching Band Ban Nearly Two Years After Hazing Death of Robert Champion
FAMU band member Robert Champion, who was beaten to death in 2011.
Florida A&M University interim President Larry Robinson announced this morning that he is lifting a nearly two-year performance ban on the school's critically acclaimed marching band.
Former school President James Ammons suspended the "Marching 100" after 26-year-old drum major Robert Champion was killed in a 2011 hazing incident.
"I want to preserve those things that have brought this band to this point, in regards to their performance, their standards of excellence in marching and musicianship," band director Dr. Sylvester Young told reporters last night in Tallahassee. "But there are some things that we plan to somewhat change."
Young is implementing a zero-tolerance policy on hazing, for example.
"The word is out," he said. "A lot of those situations are states of minds of the students. We are somewhat changing that already just through plain conversation with the students, getting to know them, and putting them on the spot as to why they're here."
Robinson agrees with Young.
Since Champion's untimely death, the historically black school -- which, like many others, has a long tradition of hazing (see the above HBO Real Sports clip) -- has made a committed effort to prevent and investigate hazing on and off campus.
According to the AP, Florida A&M even developed two new staff positions to address hazing.
"It has helped us to respond more swiftly and decisively to any allegations of hazing and any university group, emphasizing our board's policy of zero tolerance towards hazing," Robinson said.
Neither he nor Young would say when the Marching 100 would be back on the field.