Florida A&M Suspends Band, Starts Investigation After Death Of Drum Major

Source: Jennifer Portman / Tallahassee Democrat / USA Today

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Law enforcement officials confirmed Tuesday they are investigating hazing as a factor in the death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion — a revelation that came hours after the university’s president pledged to take a hard look at the pernicious practice that has plagued the famed Marching 100 band for decades.

At a hastily called news conference, FAMU President James H. Ammons indefinitely suspended all performances of the band and other music department instrumental ensembles. He also announced the creation of an independent task force to determine 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 on an institutional level,” said Ammons, who will name task force members in the coming days.

Champion was found throwing up and complaining that he could not breathe in the parking lot of the Rosen Plaza Hotel on International Drive after a game Saturday against Bethune-Cookman in Orlando.

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