FAMU Lifts Suspension Of Marching 100 [GALLERY]

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 27, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The Marching 100's preparation for a comeback is officially underway. FAMU's Interim President announced Thursday morning that the band's suspension has been lifted.

The standing-room only crowd in lobby of Lee Hall erupted in cheers after FAMU's Interim President Dr. Larry Robinson held a press conference to announce that he has lifted the suspension on the Marching 100.

FAMU student Jamel David says, "I'm very excited for the university. The Marching 100 is our baby. It gives the community, the students here, the faculty, the world basically, a chance to realize the 100 is always here to stay. It's the best news that FAMU has gotten in a very long time."

Third-year student Geralda Ambroise is ready to pick up her flute again. She says, "People come and they be like, oh the Marching 100. Yay. That's so heart-warming to know that we can bring that type of joy to people and to know that now we can continue to bring it, just makes it even better."

Teron Laidler was a member of the Marching 100. He says, "I think it's an amazing feeling. I graduate August 2nd so it's kind of bitter-sweet."

Newly appointed band director Dr. Sylvester Young says he and his team still have to decide if the band will perform for the first football game. He says the specifics on the band and if it'll play all games are yet to be determined.

Dr. Young says, "We have not been sitting down still. We've been working as if that date was reality. However, we're still working getting things ready."

"We're just ready. As soon as they tell us go, we'll be ready for whatever." Says, Ambroise.

Dr. Young says, "I've had one-on-ones with a lot of the students. They're excited. They're ready to actually put the uniform back on and actually entertain the City of Tallahassee and the State of Florida."

The band was suspended after drum major Robert Champion died from a hazing incident in November 2011.

Measures have been put in place since then to address hazing. They include: revising the Anti-Hazing policy, implementing enhanced procedures for reporting hazing allegations, and creating the new positions of a special assistant to the President for anti-hazing and a music compliance officer.

Dr. Robinson says the changes make for the right conditions to allow the band to return.

He says, "Part of changing behavior is ensuring that you understand those who might not quite get it that we're very serious about it. When and if it rears it head, we will take the appropriate actions."

The Special Assistant to the President on Anti-Hazing, Bryan Smith, says, "I just encourage the student who are currently here to not participate in those sort of activities. Not to dwell in the past or make it seem as if those sorts of behaviors were acceptable."

Press Release: FAMU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson announced at a press conference today that he has lifted the suspension on the Marching “100,” highlighting the sweeping changes the university has implemented during the past year and a half to address hazing.

“When considering all of the measures we have put in place, I believe this constitutes us having the right conditions,” said Larry Robinson. “Our newly appointed Director of Marching and Pep Bands, Dr. Sylvester Young, will decide when the band is ready for public performances.

We have Created a comprehensive anti-hazing plan in which we:
• Revised the BOT Anti-Hazing policy;
• Revised the Student Code of Conduct procedures;
• Implemented enhanced procedures for reporting and investigating hazing allegations;
• Launched a new anti-hazing website, StopHazingFAMU.com;
• Awarded funding to FAMU faculty and students for research on hazing prevention;
• Created two unique positions to provide a comprehensive approach to implement the anti-hazing initiatives, hired a special assistant to the President for anti-hazing, and a music compliance officer — to make sure that all music department ensembles including the band meet all standards to be eligible to perform.
• Scheduled campus training and forums and anti-hazing sessions.
• Enhanced the membership intake process for clubs and organizations;
• Revised the organizational structure of the Department of Music and hired a new Director of Marching and Pep Bands; and

“As a result of these actions, it helped us respond more swiftly and decisively to deal with allegations of hazing in any university groups, emphasizing our zero tolerance approach to hazing,” said Robinson.
In May of this year, the university launched anti-hazing tour conceived by our students featuring the Music Department ensembles, reaching out to students in three counties in South Florida.

According to Sylvester Young, the director of Marching and Pep Bands, he is continuing his assessment of the band. Since his appointment in May, Dr. Young has been communicating with the University in scheduled sessions regarding the right conditions needed for the return of the Marching “100.” He officially reported to work June 14.
“We are looking at the faculty who will be involved in the band under the new structure, the maximum and minimum sizes of musical units needed for standard of excellence we’ve grown accustom to. We are also assessing equipment, uniforms, pre-drill activities and other related processes to determine our readiness,” said Young. “As soon as the assessment is completed, we will announce when the first public performance is scheduled.”

Young said that he is honored to be back at FAMU and is excited about preparing the band for its first performance.


FAMU has lifted the suspension of the Marching 100 band after the fatal hazing scandal of 2011.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida A&M University plans to make an announcement on the future of its famous Marching 100 band.

A news conference is scheduled for Thursday morning.

The band has been suspended since 2011 after the hazing-related death of drum major Robert Champion.

The university hired a new band director, Sylvester Young, last month.

The band is known for its marching appearances at presidential inaugurations and Super Bowls.

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