BOG Docs Reveal Hazing Complaints Days before Champion’s Death

The hazing documents requested by the Board of Governors proves that university administration was made aware of hazing incidents being performed in the band before Nov. 19.

The documents show that Band Director Julian White reached out to Florida A&M Police Department following a hazing incident for the clarinet sub-section the “Clones” that occurred during homecoming 2011. A follow-up letter from White to Investigator John Cotton dated Nov. 16 discusses the actions taken by band administrators and FAMUPD.

“After homecoming, I was informed that initiation rituals were held, which included paddling,” White wrote. “Upon receipt of this information, suspension letters were forwarded to alleged participants, either willing victims to join or as a present member to administer the ritual.”

White continued, “I am determined to eliminate hazing in the band.”

Five officials were cc’d in this letter including President James H. Ammons, then-Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris and Vice President of Student Affairs William Hudson Jr.

Between Nov. 8-10, White administered 30 letters of suspension to band members suspected in hazing incidents. Twenty-six letters were sent to members in the trombone section and four letter to members in the clarinet section informing them of an investigation into hazing allegations.

“You have been identified as a possible participant in these allegations; therefore I am suspending you from further activities with the Florida A&M University band until such time that the investigation is complete and findings are provided to myself along with the band staff,” reads the letters. “Your scholarship will also be placed on hold pending the result of the investigation.”

This was not the only talk of hazing between administrators on Nov. 16, just three days before the death of drum major Robert Champion. Dean of Students Henry Kirby alerted White and then-Police Chief Calvin Ross, who recently retired, about an off-campus hazing incident.

“I received a call from a [name removed] indicating that she believed hazing activities were occurring at a residence [location removed] around 2:00 AM this morning by members of the band,” reads the email sent at 8:42 a.m. “She indicated that she heard loud noises, banging and popping sounds coming from the residence. Cars were all over the yard.”

The young woman attempted to call FAMUPD, but she was instructed to call TPD since the residence was off campus. Before TPD arrived, she went to the residence and warned the group to disperse before she called the cops and the men left.

“Chief, is there anything that we can do to monitor this off-campus residence for possible hazing activities,” Kirby wrote. “If this is occurring, I am sure that the students are looking for another location to continue their activities. Please advise.”