© 2023 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Officials say death of FAMU drum major is hazing-related; band suspended

By Lynn Hatter


Tallahassee, FL – Florida A&M University has indefinitely suspended its entire music program, including its famed "Marching 100" band. The suspension follows the death of one of the band's drum majors, Robert Champion. Lynn Hatter reports Orange County Sheriff officials have confirmed that hazing played a role in the death.

The allegations of hazing began even before Robert Champion's death was announced, late Saturday night. Champion died following a performance at the Florida Classic football game in Orlando. Orange County Sheriff Officials initially said they did not suspect foul play, but quickly backed off that statement and have now launched a criminal investigation. FAMU President James Ammons announced the band's suspension Tuesday.

"I am very disappointed that we're at this point in the life of this university and we're here in 2011 dealing with an issue that should have been long past here on our campus."

Orange County Sheriff officials say the results of a preliminary autopsy are inconclusive and more tests will be performed. According to state law, any death that results from hazing is considered a felony.