Sunday, June 17, 2018
Education

FAMU's Marching 100 will return from hazing suspension

TALLAHASSEE — Florida A&M University's acclaimed Marching 100 band will return from a 19-month suspension following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

When the band will return and what it will look like are not yet determined.

"Considering all of the measures we have put in place, I believe that this constitutes what I've been saying for the past several months: the right conditions to lift the suspension of the Marching 100," interim FAMU president Larry Robinson said during a news conference Thursday attended by more than 100 students and FAMU supporters.

Robinson talked about all the changes that have taken place at FAMU since Champion's death after the Orlando Classic football game in November 2011. That includes training for students and staff, hiring new staff and building an anti-hazing website where students can file reports anonymously.

"I want to re-emphasize that I'm taking this action based upon all the work that has been done over this last year-and-a-half to ensure that we have an even safer campus for students at this university," Robinson said.

New band director Sylvester Young, on the job just two weeks, will decide when the Marching 100 will return. He is evaluating students, and a marching band class meets every Monday and Wednesday. While interviewing for the job, Young said he could have the band ready to perform by the first game of the year: the MEAC-SWAC Challenge in Orlando on Sept. 1.

"We've been working as if that date was the ideal," Young said. "However, we're still working to get things ready, and I guess at some point we'll make a decision about that." The decision will largely depend on whether students are ready, he said.

Scaled-down performances could be the standard early on.

Usually, the Marching 100 is the star of FAMU home games and even most away games. The band performs before the football team takes the field, at halftime and from the stands throughout the game. Members often stay behind afterward to show off their musical skills and challenge opposing bands, a ritual known as the "Fifth Quarter."

FAMU has new standards in place for how many hours the band can practice each week, limits on how many years students can participate in the band and stricter requirements for band scholarships. That could mean the Marching 100 is smaller than before, when ranks swelled to over 400 members by some reports.

Champion died after a hazing ritual where he was beaten violently as he walked down the aisle of a bus. Doctors said he absorbed more than 300 blows.

Roughly a dozen band members faced felony hazing charges; many accepted plea deals that included probation or community service, but cases are still pending. Champion's family filed a civil suit against FAMU, the bus company and hotel alleging the hazing could have been prevented. That case is pending, too.

In the wake of Champion's death, band director Julian White and FAMU president James Ammons resigned.

Jeremy Linnen, a tuba player from Fayetteville, N.C., said he is excited to return to the field after losing a season to the suspension. And he believes the focus on bringing back the musical standards that made the Marching 100 a world-renowned band will leave no room for hazing activities that caused the downfall.

"As a student, I feel like we have to work really hard so that when we can come back it will be the same band you saw," he said.

Student body president Anthony Siders said it is a chance for FAMU to prove itself. "Yes we have a tradition here, a great legacy of excellence," he said, "but in regards to the culture of hazing that's been eradicated over time, the students do understand the severity and the importance that it must go or this university will not live."

Comments
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18
School board races attract new faces

School board races attract new faces

TAMPA — When long-time Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes resigned this month from the board to run for the State House of Representatives, the decision affected more than just her seat in west Hillsborough’s District 1.It also coul...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

Hillsborough schools tax referendum is unlikely for November

TAMPA — Money that the Hillsborough County School District needs to build schools and replace air conditioners might be farther from reach, thanks to a new state law and a bureaucratic process required before the voters can decide on a tax referendum...
Published: 06/14/18
University of Chicago eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

University of Chicago eliminates SAT/ACT requirement

The University of Chicago will no longer require ACT or SAT scores from U.S. students, sending a jolt through elite institutions of higher education as it becomes the first top-10 research university to join the test-optional movement.Numerous school...
Published: 06/14/18
Unhappy with superintendent’s budget wish list, Hernando School Board shuts down talk of tax increase

Unhappy with superintendent’s budget wish list, Hernando School Board shuts down talk of tax increase

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano presented to the School Board Tuesday nearly $53 million worth of budget priorities, asking them to choose which will be funded in the upcoming school year.The board voted 3-2 later Tue...
Published: 06/13/18
UT shines the spotlight on visiting authors

UT shines the spotlight on visiting authors

The University of Tampa’s MFA program will host the June 2018 Residency Visiting Writers Lectores Series that runs from now until June 21 on the ninth floor of the Vaughn Center, 401 W Kennedy Blvd. Each reading will be held at 7:30 p.m.Each January ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she ‘lost the public trust’

Hernando School Board fires Superintendent Lori Romano after member says she ‘lost the public trust’

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano will step down at the end of this month following a 3-2 vote by the School Board to terminate its contract with her amid increasing concerns about her ability to lead.Romano has suffere...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18
Pasco summit aims to merge school cultures while making students feel included

Pasco summit aims to merge school cultures while making students feel included

NEW PORT RICHEY — The dozen Fivay High school students and their administrators arrived at the Pasco County school district’s annual Together We Stand conference with a clear goal in mind.With hundreds of former Ridgewood High students arriving in th...
Published: 06/12/18
Central’s air rifle team prepares for national competition

Central’s air rifle team prepares for national competition

BROOKSVILLE — Historic Camp Perry is where it’s at. Located near Clinton, Ohio, the National Guard training facility is where the nation’s top shooters go to compete.Next week, some of Hernando County’s top shooters compete there in the Civilian Mark...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/14/18
An ambitious new goal for Hillsborough schools: Every child up to speed on reading by third grade

An ambitious new goal for Hillsborough schools: Every child up to speed on reading by third grade

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins has an ambitious new goal. He wants more students to be proficient in reading."I think it is the code to crack," Eakins said in an interview. He also told the School Board on Tuesday that ...
Published: 06/08/18