Florida A&M Marching Band Suspended Through 2013

Florida A&M’s president announced earlier today that he was suspending the school’s marching band through the 2012-13 academic year as a result of a hazing ritual that led to a student’s death in 2011.

“I think there is a period we should take that these measures are in place and we have addressed all the institutional issues,” the president of the Tallahassee school, James Ammons, said, adding that the band should stay off the field at least until a new band director is hired and antihazing rules have been adopted.

In addition to the suspension, eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges stemming from the death of drum major Robert Champion in November.

Authorities say Champion, 26, was badly beaten during the ritual which took place on a band bus after a football game in Orlando last November. He died within an hour of the attack.

“I was heavily influenced by the need to be respectful to Robert Champion’s family as well as the other victims,” Ammons said. “A young man lost his life, and others suffered serious injuries.”

The NY Times reports that since Mr. Champion’s death, FAMU and its marching band have come under increasing scrutiny.

Soon after the charges were announced, the university revealed that at least two of the band members charged with felonies did not attend the university and of the March 100’s 400-plus members, more than 100 were not even students when the hazing ritual occurred.

The Champion family has already told FAMU they plan to sue the university.

“The family is a huge supporter of the band and the institution of FAMU, but they have grave concerns about the safety of students in that band, due to the lack of rules and regulations, supervision and oversight,” Chris Chestnut, an attorney for the Champion family, said.

CNN has more on Robert Champion and the Florida A&M Marching Band hazing incident in the video below:

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