Saturday, August 31, 2013

Young: 70% of 100’s membership is brand new

The old FAMU Marching 100 was overrun with unauthorized, wannabe thug groups who called themselves the Clones, Gestapo, and Screaming Demons in Hollywood Hoods. Students in these underground organizations did their best to pressure their peers to submit to humiliating beatings that mimicked gang initiations.

But Sylvester Young, FAMU’s new director of marching and pep bands, says the university can and will fix this problem without taking the drastic step of barring all previous members of the 100 from the field.

“There are so many good kids in this band who are clueless as to the nature of the underground workings within the organization,” Young told WFSU. “You can’t punish those kids. Everyone should have an opportunity to come back and have a positive experience here.” 

Young did offer former FAMU band students with clean disciplinary records a chance to try out and make the roster. But such students will make up less than a third of the 140 musicians who take the field on Sunday. According to FOX Sports, the director “estimates that 70 percent of the band is made up of new members.”

The upperclassmen from previous years are returning to a very different structure of authority within the 100. FAMU no longer permits “section leaders” or “drum majors” to supervise their peers. All official band activities now take place under the direct instruction of faculty and staff.

Young says that the culture change is already apparent.

“When we go into the cafeteria, and (upperclassmen) don't skip the new students (in line), or they invite them to sit at a table and talk about your high school or what you plan to major in, those are the type of things that I can see changing,” Young said. “It says, ‘I’m not better than you.’”

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