FAMU Hazing Scandal By The Numbers
1 year ago
The Marching 100, broken down
In recent weeks Florida A&M University's famed marching band "The Marching 100" has had it's world turned upside down as they struggle to keep face in the middle of a hazing controversy that seems to peel back a new layer of disturbing information with every day that passes.
The domino effect of the scandal has not only affected the campus, but high schools that act as recruiting grounds for the popular program.
Loop 21 broke down some of the more controversial events, by the numbers.
FAMU's famed "Marching 100" Band was founded in 1892 with just 16 instruments. Since its inception the band has grown to include over 300 members.
However the band wound up with one less member on November 19, 2011 when 26-year old drum major Robert Champion died as a result of a hazing ritual after a game. He reportedly dropped his mace during a performance and was punished afterwards. In an exclusive interview with Loop 21 a former FAMU band member said that making mistakes aren't always punishable, but at the times that they are, members are usually forced to run from the front to the back of the bus with the rest of the band beating on him along the way.
Heads would eventually roll behind Champion's death and the biggest one so far belongs to band director Julian White who was fired after working with the program for 40 years. White retaliated by threatening to sue if he was not reinstated. White's firing was eventually halted as the investigation into Champion's death and hazing continued.
In addition to Julian White's dismissal and reinstatement, four FAMU students met similar fates. They were also reinstated and allowed to finish the semester.
In one of the more bizarre moments of the controversy, a photo of Champion's dead body made its way onto Facebook. Champion was seen laying in his casket, draped in a FAMU band uniform. Some felt it was ironic that he was being buried in the same uniform that he might've died in, representing an institution that might've killed him. The photo spread throughout the web and garnered 159 "likes" on Facebook.
As if the band had not received enough negative press over the last few weeks, three more male FAMU band members were charged with hazing a female band member trying to join a click inside of the band. This incident happened three weeks before Champion's death.
All high school band operations have been shut down in Dekalb County, Georgia because of ties to the FAMU band program. World renown Southwest Dekalb High School in Decatur has been a major hub for FAMU's band program. Unfortunately, Champion and two of the three males charged in the latest hazing incident attended the school as well.