Lifestyle & Belief

Florida A&M University band director fired following possible hazing death

Florida A&M University has decided to fire the director of their famed marching band, Julian White, following the death of a student in a suspected hazing incident.

Drum major Robert Champion, 26, died on Nov. 19 after vomiting and complaining he couldn’t breathe following a football game, CBS News reported. While the cause of his death has not yet been determined, his family’s lawyer said that he had injuries that suggested he had been hazed.

On Wednesday, University President James H. Ammons notified White, who’s led the band since 1998, that he would be let go on Dec. 22, CNN reported. "The reason for this intended employment action is based upon your alleged misconduct and/or incompetence involving confirmed reports and allegations of hazing with the Department of Music and the 'Marching 100,' " Ammons wrote in a letter to White, CNN reported.

At least 30 band members have been let go this semester because of possible involvement in hazing, CNN reported.

Ammons has also indefinitely suspended all performances by the Marching 100 and other music department groups, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

"While Dr. White has had a distinguished career in music education and administration within the university as director of bands," Ammons told the Tallahassee Democrat, "I did not feel there was competence involving reporting allegations of hazing within the Department of Music and the Marching 100."

White’s attorney Charles Hobbs II told CNN that White has actually showed “exemplary” leadership against hazing and should not be fired. In a letter to Ammons, Hobbs wrote that he has documents that "will overwhelmingly show that Dr. White has been at the vanguard of implementing measures to eliminate hazing within the Marching 100 over the past 22 years,” the Florida Times-Union reported.