Band Members Petition for FAMU Band Director

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Tallahassee, FL -As the search for FAMU's next band director marches on, some band members are now petitioning the school to hire their favorite candidate.

The search for FAMU's next band director was supposed to have ended days ago. But because the University says it was unable to reach a deal with its candidate, the search goes on.

Now some members of the band are voicing their opinion about who they want to see takeover through an online petition.

The petition appears on the website,

In it, some members of the band are asking the University to hire Dr. Shelby Chipman as its band director.

Chipman was one of the original finalists and is the protégé of former band director Dr. Julian White. White resigned from the school's amidst the band's hazing scandal.

So far, the petition has collected more than one thousand signatures.

But some students say they don't see Chipman's attachment to the previous director as having a negative impact.

"He knows what has happened and he knows he has to put in the right precautions so it never happens again. I think the band feels more comfortable with him and I think that in itself will help the band," says FAMU student Maya Lewis.

While FAMU's Interim President, Dr. Larry Robinson says he has not seen the petition, he says it's good the students are voicing their opinions. However, Dr. Robinson says he does not want to have outside influences affect the school's search.

Currently, the band remains on suspension. As for the search of a new band director, the University says it has not set a specific time frame for when that may happen.

FAMU Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) Interim President Larry Robinson has decided today to reopen the search for a new director of marching and pep bands with the desire to look at a new pool of candidates.

“We were unable to reach an agreement and we strongly feel that it is time to reopen the search to find the right fit for the task at hand,” Robinson said. “Our goal is to continue the tradition that has made the Marching ‘100’ great, but to also ensure that students are able to thrive in the right environment free from outside pressure and influence.”

According to FAMU Interim Provost Rodner Wright, who is chair of the search committee, the university had a firm commitment on Monday, but the candidate had several concerns.

“This search is a priority for us and we understand how critical this position is in the decision-making process about the return of the Marching ‘100,’” Wright said. “We want to make sure the candidate understands that our priority is to do what is in the best interest of the university and students.”

The university is considering the use of a search firm as it reopens the search.

Statement from FAMU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida A&M University (FAMU) is continuing its negotiation efforts with one of the candidates for the director of marching and pep bands.

The university will not make an announcement about an appointment today, but will make an announcement if all details are finalized.

“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,” said Interim Provost and chair of the search committee Rodner Wright. “We are continuing our discussion with the candidate.

In lieu of the new discussion, we want to make sure that we are doing what is in the best interest of university.”

Tallahassee, FL - Administrators scheduled a press conference for this morning to announce that they hired a new band director at FAMU.

But, after about 15 or 20 minutes after the scheduled time, we were told the announcement would be rescheduled.

The press conference was scheduled for 9:15 this morning. The media was set up and faculty, students, and alumni, were waiting in Lee Hall Auditorium when the communications director came out to say that administrators would not be announcing a new band director at that time.

The communications director at FAMU says the announcement had to be postponed because a deal with the new band director still had to be worked out.

Dr. Shelby Chipman was among the final four candidates for the job. Chipman is the associate Marching 100 band director.

The other candidates include: Richard Beckford, a high school band director in Pompano Beach, Florida Penn State assistant band director Gregory Drane, and Jorim Reid, North Carolina Central University's Band Director.

The former director, Dr. Julian White, resigned last year in the wake of the November 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

FAMU has not released what the hiring hold-up is or whose end it's on.

The communications director told reporters that she would let us know when they're ready to reschedule the announcement.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida A&M University is delaying the hiring of a new director for its famed marching band.

The university had scheduled a news conference Tuesday to announce a successor to former band director Julian White.

But a university spokeswoman told a crowd of nearly 100 faculty members and students that the appointment was on hold. Sharon Saunders told reporters that the finalist for the job and the university were still negotiating a final contract.

Saunders she did not know what caused the problem, but said apparently one issue is the structure of the job. FAMU changed the responsibilities of the band director in the wake of the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

The school's Marching 100 remains on suspension and there is no schedule yet for its return.

Tallahassee, FL - FAMU has decided to postpone the announcement of a new band director for the University.

WCTV will bring you the latest on WCTV Eyewitness News at Noon.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida A&M University is hiring a new director for its famed band, even though The Marching 100 remains sidelined.

FAMU interim president Larry Robinson is expected on Tuesday to name a successor to former band director Julian White.

FAMU initially fired White shortly after the November 2011 hazing-related death of drum major Robert Champion. But his dismissal was put on hold at the urging of law-enforcement officials investigating Champion's death. White announced his retirement in May 2012.

Four people last year interviewed for the band director job, including current band directors at a North Carolina college and a Florida high school. Three of the finalists had attended FAMU.

The Marching 100 has been suspended since Champion's death and there is no scheduled date yet for its return.

Tallahassee, FL - Florida A&M University has scheduled a press conference Tuesday, January 15th at 9:15 a.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.

It is expected that Interim President Larry Robinson will officially announce the hiring of the new director of the marching and pep bands to the campus community.

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