Robinson commits to more resources for Marching 100

Samuel Muselaire, Marching 100 president, in Paris during the Louis Vuitton show. Photo courtesy: Muselaire


Shortly after Florida A&M’s football team spoke out and took the university to task,
members of The Marching 100, FAMU’s marching band, voiced their concerns with the
administration on social media, explaining that they get treated worse than the football

During the first away game at the University of North Carolina, the band traveled 13
hours on a bus — each way.

After performing all day, they were not allowed back in the hotel because of checkout
times, so they had to change in front of each other on the bus and ride for 13 hours
back to Tallahassee.

According to the band president, Samuel Muselaire, this wasn’t the first time the band
had to cope with these issues.

“With the Florida Classic, we’ve shown up, performed at the battle of the band, then we
performed at the game, and we’ve had instances in the past where the band had to get
out of performance, change on the bus, eat, and then have to head back to Tallahassee
immediately,” Muselaire said.

Some members complained of having cold box lunches during their trip to North

“Now that’s where it gets tricky because we ordered hot food. I don’t know if the food
was cold from the start, but by the time we got there, which we got there later than we
originally planned, the food was cold. Eventually, hot food will get cold.” Muselaire said.

In recent years, The Marching 100 has felt like the university did not respect them.

“In the past, sometimes we felt like the band has been underappreciated by the
university,” Muselaire said. “Not by students per se but by the administration.”

Muselaire also said the administration was not always open to their ideas, but since
they’ve spoken out, they have seen a change.

“It’s not that we couldn’t get things done, but there was a lot more resistance and fight
back when we wanted to do certain things, but the administration has changed as far as
being more open to and appreciative of the band and what we do here.”

After students’ concerns were brought to his attention, FAMU President Larry Robinson
sat down with Shelby Chipman, head director of the band, to take care of their

“I had a detailed discussion with Dr. Chipman on some of his immediate concerns, and
the students concerns, and I think we addressed most of those or put a plan in place to
address those things. So, now it’s back in [Chipman’s] court.”

Robinson said when FAMU football is scheduled to play “guarantee games,” like UNC,
and it is time to negotiate, “Dr. Chipman and his folks have to be in the room.”

“For a payout game, if we decided on $400,000, for example,” Robinson said. ‘We have
to remember to move the band for a couple of days. It’s going to take $100 to $150
thousand to do that alone.”

Kelvin Lawson, chairman of FAMU’s board of trustees, said the board is working on
creating budgets that accommodate the band for away games.

“In some of the game contracts, there is money in the contract for the band,” Lawson
told The Famuan. “But just not enough to fully cover their expenses.”

Lawson also said if the budget is not enough for the band, that’s when difficult choices
are made.

“If we don’t have the appropriate budget, we have to make the tough decision and not
allow the band to go if we can't completely fund their needs in the way they need to be
funded,” Lawson said.

Eleven years ago, during the Florida Classic, a fatal hazing incident occurred during the
second night of the band’s stay at a hotel in Orlando. Since then, the band has only
been allowed to stay one night on their trip to Orlando.

Robinson said he and Chipman conclude that the band is in a place where “they can
handle a second night,”

“I have confidence that [the band members] will see to it and deal with themselves as
the outstanding young men and women they are. Now we have to find a way to pay for
it, but they will be at [the Florida Classic] for two nights.”