Florida A&M lifts suspension of marching band

12:40 AM, Jun 28, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
FAMU Rattlers(AP file)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida A&M University announced on Thursday that it is lifting the suspension of its famous Marching 100 band following a fatal hazing incident in 2011.

The decision came from FAMU's interim president Larry Robinson.

The band known for its marching appearances at presidential inaugurations and Super Bowls had been suspended since death of drum major Robert Champion of Decatur. The band members were not allowed to perform, practice or meet.

Twelve band members were charged in the case.

RELATED | Suspect in FAMU hazing pleads no contest

MORE | Man charged in FAMU hazing case pleads no contest

In May, FAMU hired a new band director, Sylvester Young, who pledged to rebuild the band and help change its image. The school has also made several moves to fight hazing.

The specter of hazing also led to the resignation of former FAMU President James H. Ammons last July, the same day the Champion family filed an ongoing wrongful-death lawsuit against the university.

Robinson has been working closely with university staff to address the culture of hazing on campus, creating two new positions devoted to fighting the practice, a compliance officer in the music department and a special anti-hazing assistant who reports directly to the president. The university also started an anti-hazing website where hazing can be reported anonymously, leading to the suspension of campus organizations.

In addition, FAMU administrators required every student to sign an anti-hazing pledge in order to enroll, and every student organization was required to go through a new intake process focused on anti-hazing practices in order to be recognized by the university. Anti-hazing town halls and forums were held. There are still plans for a panel of national hazing experts to meet on FAMU's campus.

Despite all of these measures, the 2012-13 academic year did not see an end to hazing at FAMU. Last fall there were 20 allegations of hazing involving official student organizations, resulting in the suspensions of two organizations.

(USA TODAY contributed to this report.)

Most Watched Videos