A press conference to announce a new band director for Florida A&M University didn’t happen as planned Tuesday. Minutes before the announcement, university officials said they weren’t ready to name a new director because of contract disputes.
FAMU officials settled on four finalists for the position, including associate band director Shelby Chipman who many considered a front runner. Instead, the school made an offer to North Carolina Central Band Director Jorim Reid, a former FAMU band drum major. But Reid and the university have yet to come to an agreement on contract terms, and University Spokeswoman Sharon Saunders called the press conference off:
“We’re going to have to reschedule this press conference. They were unable to reach an agreement, but when they do...we will call you back and have an announcement. We regret we were unable to do this," Saunders said to about 100 reporters, students and university officials gathered at Lee Hall for the announcement.
Florida A&M University has been without a band director since Julian White resigned last year in the wake of the hazing death of a drum major. The school’s Marching 100 band remains under suspension. In a written statement following the announcement's cancelation, Interim University Provost Rodner Wright said, "we felt we had a firm commitment on Monday, but there were concerns expressed by the candidate regarding the new academic structure in the Department of Music.”
Part of the conversation involves the reorganization of the band department. The director of bands and Department Chair were the same position until recently, when they were separated as part of recommendations to improve accountability within the band program.
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