TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida A&M University's suspension of the Marching 100 has beenlifted, Interim president Larry Robinson announced this morning.
"Whenconsidering all of the measures we have put in place, I believe thisconstitutes us having the right conditions," Robinson said.
FAMU'snew Director of Marching and Pep Bands, Dr. Sylvester Young, willdecide when the band is ready for public performances. Young said at anews conference, it is too soon to say when that will be. He said thereis a lot of work to be done to get a new band ready.
"We'll see. We are moving in the right direction," he said.
Theband had been suspended from performing, practicing or meeting for 19months, since the November 2011 hazing death of drum major RobertChampion on a band bus following the Florida Classic football game inOrlando. Champion's death put a spotlight on a pervasive culture ofhazing at the university, leading to the retirement of longtime banddirector Julian White and the remaking of the famed band. Young washired as the new director of bands in May.
The specter ofhazing also led to the resignation of former FAMU President James H.Ammons last July, the same day the Champion family filed an ongoingwrongful-death lawsuit against the university.
Robinsonhas been working closely with university staff to address the culture ofhazing on campus, creating two new positions devoted to fighting thepractice, a compliance officer in the music department and a specialanti-hazing assistant who reports directly to the president. Theuniversity also started an anti-hazing website where hazing can bereported anonymously, leading to the suspension of campus organizations.
Inaddition, FAMU administrators required every student to sign ananti-hazing pledge in order to enroll, and every student organizationwas required to go through a new intake process focused on anti-hazingpractices in order to be recognized by the university. Anti-hazing townhalls and forums were held. There are still plans for a panel ofnational hazing experts to meet on FAMU's campus.
Despiteall of these measures, the 2012-13 academic year did not see an end tohazing at FAMU. Last fall there were 20 allegations of hazing involvingofficial student organizations, resulting in the suspensions of twoorganizations.