Interim President Larry Robinson announced at a press conference this morning that the suspension of the Marching “100” was lifted.
An indefinite suspension followed the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion, who died in November 2011 as a result of a hazing ritual that took place in Orlando on a bus after the Florida Classic.
“For the past year and a half, under the guidance of the Florida A&M University board of trustees, the university has worked to address issues associated with hazing and campus safety extensively,” he said.
Some of the measures taken, Robinson said, include a revised anti-hazing policy and student code of conduct procedures, enhanced procedures for reporting and investigating hazing allegations, an anti-hazing website, campus training forums on anti-hazing, the creation of two new positions – the special assistant to the president for anti-hazing and a music compliance officer – and the hiring of a new director of marching and pep bands.
Robinson also said membership for the band will differ from other clubs and organizations, such as limits on practice hours and the number of semesters students can participate as active members.
“Considering all of the measures we have put in place,” he said, “I believe that this constitutes what I’ve been saying for the last several months – the right condition to lift the suspension of the Marching ‘100.’ “
Robinson said the newly hired band director, Sylvester Young, and his staff will decide specifics in regard to the band and any future public performances.
“We’re still working, getting things ready,” Young said. “At some point we will make a decision about that.”
Ray Nelson, a third-year jazz studies student from West Palm Beach, said he is excited about putting in work and living up to the name of the “world-renowned” Marching “100.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” Nelson said. “We’ve really been anticipating this day, and we’re just happy that it finally came.”
He also had high praise for Young.
“He’s a great guy,” Nelson said. “I spoke with him personally. He’s ready to work, he’s a perfectionist and I think he’s going to be great for the job.”