Showing posts with label Marching 100. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marching 100. Show all posts

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Charges dropped charges against former band member in Champion case

Prosecutors have dropped charges against one of the remaining defendants in the hazing death of Robert Champion.   

Henry Nesbitt had faced manslaughter and hazing charges until the state attorney notified the court Friday that they would not pursue prosecution of those alleged crimes, according to Orange County court documents and published reports.
“Henry Nesbitt was the one person who was there who snatched someone’s cellphone and called 911 for Mr. Champion,” Nesbitt’s attorney, Zachary White, said Saturday. “The evidence shows that he wasn’t on the bus at the time when any of the activities were going on.”
White said there was a lack of evidence for prosecutors to move forward with a case against Nesbitt.

Monday, November 25, 2013

FAMU strikes blow against culture of hazing with safe Marching 100 season

The culture of hazing that has plagued the FAMU student body for years won’t disappear overnight, but the university scored a critical victory against it during the 2013 marching band season.

FAMU’s Marching 100 is done with its football halftime performance schedule for this school year. There were no reported incidents of hazing.

Former FAMU President James H. Ammons suspended the 100 in November, 2011 following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion, Jr. According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Champion “willingly participated” in a violent, unauthorized pledging ritual aboard a parked bus after that year’s Florida Classic in Orlando.

At Ammons’s request, the FAMU Board of Trustees approved a new comprehensive Anti-Hazing Plan. It introduced new band regulations that included a four-year cap on the number of years a student can participate in music department bands, a requirement that all band members be enrolled full-time at FAMU, and a ban on practices that are not supervised by music department staff.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marching 100 students must protect band’s future by following rules during Florida Classic

This football season, many FAMU fans could be heard repeating an old saying: “I’m going to the game to see the Marching 100 play.”

There wasn’t much to cheer about this year at Bragg Memorial Stadium, where FAMU lost all five of its home contests. But despite all the disappointment on the gridiron, Rattlers were still able to shout at the visiting opponents and say: “Our band is better than your band!”

That was on display again last Saturday. While FAMU lost 29-21 to the Hornets, Rattlers were able to enjoy a fun halftime show. But unfortunately, FAMU had to settle for winning the battle of the bands by default. The DSU “Approaching Storm” did a 180 turn from its path toward Tallahassee as university officials suspended it in response to hazing allegations.

“It’s a shame that a few people can’t follow the rules and the whole band has to suffer as a result at this time,” Provost Alton Thompson said of the first-ever band suspension in the school’s history.

The struggle against unauthorized pledging rituals goes on. This week, the Marching 100 will share the Florida Classic halftime field with Bethune-Cookman  University (BCU), another historically black university that is also confronting the aftermath of a student death linked to hazing.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

FAMU right to give MUN 1110’s return priority over bringing a sorority back to the yard

On Sunday, the parents of slain drum major Robert Champion, Jr. protested the Marching 100’s return to the field by attending its performance during the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando. They continue to criticize FAMU for giving the band a shorter suspension than a campus sorority linked to a reported hazing incident that didn’t result in a student death.

“FAMU recently suspended two sororities for multiple years of incidents involving hazing,” Pamela Champion said in quote published by Reuters back in June. “Why is the band being held to a much more lenient standard, following the brutal hazing that resulted in the death of my son?”

FAMU suspended the Marching 100 for a year and a half from November 2011 through June 2013. The university recently placed its chapters of Delta Sigma Theta and Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority on suspension, as well. The Deltas will remain off the yard for three years, until June 30, 2016. The Gammas won’t return until June 30, 2014. Both disciplinary actions came in the wake of hazing allegations.

The Champion family’s objection to the fact that the Marching 100 received a shorter suspension than the ΔΣΘ chapter misses an important difference between the two cases. FAMU is spending more money to pay for additional staffers and chaperones to maintain tight control of MUN 1110 (the marching band class) activities. Extracurricular organizations like sororities don’t warrant that type of financial investment from the university.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Rattlers down MVSU 27-10; Marching 100 returns

FAMU took an early 20-0 lead over Mississippi Valley State to clench a commanding victory in the 9th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The Orange & Green rallied to a 27-10 win before a crowd of 24,376 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando Sunday. This was the third straight win for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in the matchup.
FAMU used a very balanced offensive attack to rack up a total of 310 total yards on the afternoon. Three different Rattler players scored on runs, with Damien Fleming, Omari Albert, and Al-Terek McBurse all scampering their way to TDs.

Earl Holmes, who claimed his first win as permanent head coach, said he and his players were energized by the tremendous support they received from the Rattlers who filled the Florida Citrus Bowl to cheer them to victory.

“When we were about to kick the ball off, some of the players commented on how it felt like home... That 12th man made all the difference in the world today,” Holmes said.
As exciting as the football contest was for the Rattlers, this game was much more about the return of the Marching 100 who took to the field for the first time in nearly 22 months.   At just over 130 members the band was much smaller the previous bands, but the distinctive FAMU sound was there.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Marching 100’s Orlando trip continues without any safety problems

Sylvester Young, FAMU’s director of bands, delayed the Marching 100’s departure from Tallahassee for two hours on Friday as he and other university officials double-checked the eligibility status of each band member. Staffers verified that each student who boarded one of the buses met the enrollment and GPA standards required for participation.

The five buses carrying 146 band members, Young’s assistants, and chaperones then finally left the state’s capital city and headed toward their destination in Orlando.

Saturday morning, the Marching 100 was up bright and early to appear at the MEAC/SWAC pep rally in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. It kicked off its performance with the 20th Century Fox theme song. FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson then took the stage to offer words of encouragement to the band students who will be seen by an ESPN audience of millions this weekend.

Robinson, Marching 100 thrill fans in Disney’s Magic Kingdom

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.” 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ohio State anticipates halftime show without a battle of the bands against FAMU

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH) reports that Ohio State University probably won’t get a chance to face off against FAMU in a battle of the bands on September 21st.

According to the newspaper: “Ohio State associate athletic director Martin Jarmond said he spoke with Florida A&M's interim athletic director on Tuesday and came away with the understanding that the band wouldn't be making the trip.”

“There's nothing we can do,” Jarmond said told The Plain Dealer. “It would have been awesome.”

Alonda Thomas, the director of media relations at FAMU, provided the newspaper with additional details about the decision to strike the Ohio State game off the Marching 100’s schedule.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

100 will perform halftime show at MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Sept. 1st in Orlando

FAMU Director of Marching and Pep Bands Sylvester Young announced today that the Marching “100” will perform during the halftime show at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney in Orlando Sept. 1, 2013 and at other games during the football season.

According to Young, the band will have fewer members than in the past, as a result of the new, more rigorous guidelines for participation. A news story by Tampa Bay Times reporter Tia Mitchell provided additional details, explaining that “the Marching 100 currently has 126 members and likely won't surpass 150 students this season. There were over 400 before the suspension.”

Young emphasized that even though this year's band will be smaller than the one that marched in 2011, it will remain equally dynamic and fully represent the great tradition of the late William P. Foster.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Young scraps drum major corps, opts for three “field commanders”

The Marching 100 drum major corps existed to give students a chance to show that they could exercise responsibility. Many of the band members selected for this honor took the job seriously and went on to make the university proud during their post-graduation years.

One shining example is Adam J. Richardson, Jr., who went from being the 100’s head drum major to an internationally admired bishop in the A.M.E. Church.

The band administration used to trust its drum majors to help report hazing. But the drum major corps from Fall 2011 went rogue and betrayed that trust.

Four of the ex-drum majors from Fall 2011 were charged with hazing. An investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office concluded that two other drum majors from that year, Keon Hollis and Robert Champion, “willingly participated” in hazing.

Sylvester Young, FAMU’s new director of bands, has decided to scrap the drum major corps as part of his efforts to restructure the Marching 100 into a safer organization. The 100 will now have a small, select group of three “field commanders.”

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marching 100 begins pre-drills under tight supervision

FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson shared a message of new beginnings and rising to high expectations as he addressed the more than 190 potential members of the Marching “100” on Saturday.

“This band will truly exemplify the principles of Character, Academics, Leadership, Musicianship, Marching and Service. The band will be a model for others to emulate on and off the field," said Robinson. “We’ve learned a lot in the past 20 months. We’ve made significant adjustments to educate and inform our students about the great traditions and values of Florida A&M University and the Marching ‘100’ which include respecting and supporting each other in the light of day and when the crowds have gone. We’re looking forward to a great season and future for the band.”

New and returning students reported to pre-drill in order to audition for faculty to be in the Marching “100.” All students in pre-drill met the new eligibility guidelines. The new criteria being used to determine who can participate in the Marching Band ensemble is as follows:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tallahassee Democrat, Orlando Sentinel express confidence in Sylvester Young

Last week, two Florida editorial boards gave strong votes of confidence to Sylvester Young, FAMU’s new director of bands. They applauded Interim President Larry Robinson for selecting an experienced music professor and a tough disciplinarian to rebuild the Marching 100.

“Dr. Robinson deserves credit for taking charge of the situation and taking the appropriate steps to hire additional staff to help oversee band operations,” the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board wrote. “By hiring Mr. Young he is bringing in a seasoned, no-nonsense musician and band director who has experienced a successful career in directing and managing marching bands.”

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board also praised Young’s return to The Hill.

“Hiring Sylvester Young as the new band director is another plus,” the Sentinel editorial board wrote. “He’s a FAMU alumnus and former Marching 100 trombone player. He’s a strong leader who’s led bands at two other historically black universities. He understands the culture of hazing and his vital role in putting an end to it.”

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Ex-head drum major sentenced to probation in hazing homicide

Jonathan Boyce, 26, the former head drum major of the Marching 100, pleaded no contest to a felony hazing charge in the homicide of band member Robert Champion, Jr.

Circuit Judge Marc Lubet sentenced Boyce to five years of probation. Lubet also chose to withhold adjudication, which means that Boyce will not have a conviction on his record.

Boyce’s “no contest” plea was part of a deal he struck with the state attorney’s office of Ninth Judicial District of Florida. Prosecutors agreed to drop the second-degree manslaughter charge against him, which would have carried up to 15 years in prison.

The ex-head drum major said that Champion had requested his permission to go through the “Crossing Bus C” ritual the entire marching season.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Champion's parents accuse FAMU of chasing dollars as they seek money from Rosen hotel

Back when Pamela and Robert Champion, Sr. announced their decision to sue the Rosen Plaza hotel for their son's hazing death aboard a parked bus, the reactions among news website visitors ranged from laughter to shock.

Commenters ask if the company that made the band instruments will be the next to be sued

Many of the commenters in response forums sarcastically asked who the Champions would sue next. Some guessed that future defendants would include the contractors who paved the I-75 interstate the bus used to travel from Tallahassee to Orlando. Other commenters said they thought the Champions would soon seek damages from the businesses that made the band uniforms and instruments.

The explanation Champion's parents gave for their lawsuit against Rosen provided even more fodder for such jokes.

According to the Orlando Sentinel: "The Champion family’s lawyer claims that Rosen's operators and its security team should have known that a hazing was reasonably likely to occur on the premises. The lawsuit alleges that marching band members were involved in a hazing on the hotel's 18th floor about six months earlier — an incident that led to the suspension of 30 members of the Marching 100. The suit, which previously accused FAMU, the bus company and its driver of allowing the hazing to take place, alleges that the parking lot was dimly lit, lacked security and surveillance cameras which could have deterred the hazing."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

FAMU lifts band suspension, hasn’t set date for 100’s return to public performances

FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson announced at a press conference today that he has lifted the suspension on the Marching “100,” highlighting the sweeping changes the university has implemented during the past year and a half to address hazing.

“When considering all of the measures we have put in place, I believe this constitutes us having the right conditions,” said Robinson. “Our newly appointed Director of Marching and Pep Bands, Dr. Sylvester Young, will decide when the band is ready for public performances.”

Robinson went on to list the new policies FAMU has implemented as part of its new comprehensive anti-hazing plan. The university has:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Robinson says band class’ return doesn’t mean 100 will be back in 2013

Ever since FAMU began enrolling students in “MUN 1110,” speculation has spread that this means the Marching 100 will be back for the Fall 2013 football season. MUN 1110 is the Marching Band class. It is scheduled to meet during the Summer “B” session (June 24-August 2) and the fall (August 26-December 13).

But Interim President Larry Robinson told WFSU Radio that FAMU might still opt to keep the 100 on the sidelines next year despite the decision to resume teaching students about marching performance skills.