Florida A&M University has suspended all band performances amid an investigation into the death of 26-year old drum major with the University band Robert Champion. He became ill on Saturday night after the game and later died. Hazing is reported to be involved in the incident.
Investigators have found that hazing was involved in the incident, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said Tuesday.
“Any death that occurs as the result of hazing is a third degree felony,” he said. “Anyone who participates in such events can be criminally charged.”
FAMU President James Ammons announced Tuesday he is immediately suspending “any and all performances and engagements for bands and other ensembles under the auspices of the Music Department, including the Marching 100.”
The suspension will stay in place during the investigations of Champion’s death, Ammons said, and it will not be lifted until he authorizes it.
Ammons vowed to convene a task force “to determine if there are any unauthorized and questionable activities associated with the culture of the Marching 100.”
“The purpose of this review is not to establish culpability of individual band members in this particular case, but rather to determine whether there are patterns of behavior by the band — or members of it — that should be addressed at the institutional level.,” he said
What is the point of hazing? For a band that represented Florida in the parade for President Barack Obama’s inauguration, it is definitely a sad day!