FAMU Band's Future Remains Uncertain

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

As of mid-day, seven of eleven people facing thirteen felonies in the death of a FAMU Drum Major had been arrested. Even with the arrests, Mike Vasilinda tells us the future of the band is in limbo.

FAMU Band Percussionist Caleb Jackson got his first appearance before a judge Thursday. Judge Ronald Flury was prepared to release Jackson on a fifteen thousand dollar bond.

But that evaporated when the judge learned Jackson was on probation for a felony battery charge.

The denial of bond brought tears to Jackson’s fiancee.

“Without him being able to work, my bills aren’t being paid,” Jackson’s fiancee Jasmine Alexander said. “I need him home.”

Students are on break right now, but when they return on Monday for the summer semester, the future of the band will still be up in the air. That’s because there are still two investigations going on.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement put questions about band finances and per diem payments on hold while the criminal case was being investigated. And the Board of Governors, which is investigating how FAMU administrators handled the hazing death, got a final packet of documents in mid April.

Governor Rick Scott also said it was too soon for the band be back on stage.

“We ought to finish and make sure that there’s not going to be anything like this that happens again,” Scott said. “I don’t think we’re in that position yet. The head band’s got a great history, but we can’t afford to lose another individual like Robert Champion.”

Scott also said that when the time was ripe, he was willing to participate in settlement talks with Drum Major Robert Champions family.

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