FAMU Interim President Castell V. Bryant recently issued a decree which has led to nearly 40 members of the Marching 100 being unable to perform.
For years, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College students have been allowed to march with the Marching 100, but under Bryant’s new ruling, only FAMU students will be able to be in FAMU’s band.
A group of 40-50 band members met with Bryant in Lee Hall Wednesday to voice their opinions and find out why the decision was carried out on such short notice.
Bryant said it is still the band’s choice to let in whomever they want, so long as they are students at this university.
“Only FAMU’s full-time students will be allowed to be in the band,” Bryant said. “The band staff will decide who is in the band.”
Bryant said she is making this rule is so the band can play by the same rules as other organizations and clubs on the campus.
“Only full-time FAMU students are on the football team,” Bryant said. “And the band will have to adhere to the same guidelines. We’re not picking on TCC or FSU.”
Still, many members of the band are frustrated with the news that many of their colleagues will not be able march with them.
Band member Byron Jackson said part of the reason he is upset is because the news was delivered August 5, the night of summer graduation.
By that time, incoming band students had begun to arrive at FAMU to start pre-drill, a training period for new members to learn the band’s fundamentals.
“Some came up to FAMU and pre-drill with the intent to attend FSU and TCC,” said Jackson, 21, a senior elementary education student from Atlanta. “A lot of students went through pre-drill having hopes that it would be rectified.”
Shaun West, head drum major for the Marching 100, said he and other band members understand Bryant’s decision, but think it was too abrupt.
West, 22, said for many of the students who can no longer march, a whole summer’s worth of work was done in vain.
West said one thing they could have done was visit local high schools and warn and motivate the students to get their grades and test scores up so they could attend FAMU full-time.
An issue West said was brought up was the cost of transporting, feeding and housing the many members of the band. Instead of just letting people go, West said that Bryant should look at the Cost-Benefit Analysis.
“The benefits heavily outweigh the cost” of sending a “world class” organization, West said.
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