Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FAMU band director fired after alleged hazing death of band member

Robert Champion
As authorities continue to investigate the suspected hazing death of an FAMU drum major ( Robert Chanpion ), the university has elected to fire its longtime band director, Julian White.

"Dr. White has been terminated from employment at the university," said FAMU president James Ammons, citing White's "inability to stop hazing in the department of music and in the band."

"We are serious, this has to stop," Ammons said in an interview with the Sentinel. "The highest priority we have as a university is protecting the health, safety and well-being of our students."

The news comes one day after Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings announced that hazing was involved in the death of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University drum major Robert Champion.

Champion collapsed aboard a parked charter bus in front of the Rosen Plaza hotel Saturday night after the Florida Classic football game in which the FAMU band performed during halftime.

He was pronounced dead a short time later at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. The 26-year-old was a first-year drum major poised to become the top student in the band next year.

Ammons said the Tallahassee university's campus community has been rocked by the death. He said a newly formed task force will begin work soon to assess the extent and nature of the hazing problem.

"There is a dark cloud over this campus and the students, the faculty, the administration are all just heartbroken that we have lost someone like Robert Champion in his prime," he said.

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