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FAMU Band Director Steps Down, Pressure Mounting to Keep Band Suspended

The fate of the FAMU Marching 100 is in question now that their famed band director has stepped down. On Thursday, 71-year-old  Julian White announced through his attorneys that he has decided to retire and spend more time with his family. White, the longtime leader of the embattled band, was briefly suspended from his position following the death of Robert Champion, a FAMU drum major who was hazed through a “gauntlet of fists” and passed away in November of 2011.

Along with White’s announcement, pressure is mounting around the music program at the hands of Frank Brogan, the chancellor of Florida’s state university system, who wrote a brash letter to FAMU president James Ammons urging him to keep the band suspended and subsequently off the filed. Ammons is expected to discuss the fate of the band at a special meeting of the university board of trustees planned Monday.

Adding further to the controversy is Ammons’ announcement this week that more than 100 band members weren’t even enrolled FAMU students at the time of Champion’s death. As previously reported, 13 Marching 100 members have been charged in the death of Champion; 11 of which could face up to six years iprison.

–danielle canada