Archive for June, 2012

Some FAMU staff wanted band suspended before the Florida Classic

June 13, 2012

By Peter McKay | FAMU ’97 | Email

The plot thickens as to who knew what, when regarding hazing at FAMU.

In a story on Monday, the Orlando Sentinel’s Denise-Marie Balona and Stephen Hudak wrote:

The former chief of Florida A&M University’s police department and the school’s dean of students recommended that FAMU not allow its famed marching band to perform at the Florida Classic in Orlando last fall because of concerns over hazing, the former chief told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday.

Former band director Julian White quashed the idea when it came forward during a brief staff meeting Nov. 16, saying the band was a main feature of the annual fundraising event, said Calvin Ross, who recently retired from the FAMU police department. A spokeswoman for White, however, said the former band director actually agreed with the recommendation, but no one at the meeting had authority to suspend the band.

The little he said-he said conflict there aside, this story goes on to provide quite a little narrative about whether Champion’s death was preventable based on what administrators knew.

A story like this also makes it incrementally harder to defend President Ammons, as many FAMU alumni have, by saying that he can’t control every little detail of everything at the university, that he didn’t know exactly what was going on with the band, et cetera.

The Sentinel story doesn’t place Ammons in the Nov. 16 meeting, and the story is inconclusive as to whether he was told afterward about the proposal to suspend the band. But given the significance of such an idea, coming from the police chief and the dean of students, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be told.

In other words, this story involving other senior-level administrators moves things incrementally closer to the president’s office. You can bet that the president will be asked about it publicly the next time he’s in front of the trustees, who already have no confidence in him, or one of the several other state-level entities now investigating the Champion incident.

He better have a good answer as to why he was either unaware of or opposed to his own deputies’ desire to ban the band.

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