Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band. Photo courtesy the Tallahassee Democrat
Tallahassee, Florida - Florida A&M University lifts the suspension on its famed marching band a year-and-a-half after the hazing-related death of band member Robert Champion.
He died in November 2011, after he was beaten by members of the Marching 100 during a hazing ritual on a band bus in Orlando.
Since then, FAMU has instituted a wide-ranging anti-hazing plan. It includes new procedures for reporting and investigating claims of hazing, new faculty positions to enforce anti-hazing rules and a revised process to join the band.
The band also has a new director. Sylvester Young says he is starting to select students for the new Marching 100 and he has high hopes for the band's future.
"They are returning with all of the glamour and the glitter and the excitement that they've always had. But they're coming out of this I would say stronger and smarter and, of course, more focused."
Young says it's still too soon to know whether the Marching 100 will be ready to perform at football games this fall.
"We're always moving toward that, but we're taking it one week at a time. It's just that sensitive and, of course, we're not going to perform unless we are at the level that we really, really want to be because of the reputation of the band and we don't want to do less than what we're capable of."
Young is a graduate of FAMU and a former director of the marching band at Ohio University.