TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Four days after a Florida A&M drum major died following a suspected hazing incident, university President James H. Ammons on Wednesday fired the director of the famed Marching 100, Julian White.
“While Dr. White has had a distinguished career in music education and administration within the university as director of bands,” Ammons said, “I did not feel there was competence involving reporting allegations of hazing within the Department of Music and the Marching 100.”
White, a FAMU graduate who joined the music faculty nearly 40 years ago and took over as director of bands in 1998, said Ammons gave him the choice to resign or be fired. White could not be reached for further comment an hour later, after Ammons announced his termination effective Dec. 22.
Until then, White will be on paid administrative leave and is barred from returning to his office or other campus work areas.
“I admire and respect Dr. White for his body of work,” Ammons said. “I just didn’t think that we had the kind of controls and accountability that we need to have in those bands and those organizations under his supervision.”
Gov. Rick Scott also on Wednesday requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement assist in the investigation of Robert Champion’s death in Orlando Saturday after FAMU’s annual Florida Classic football game.
In a letter to FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, Scott said Champion’s death has “generated great concern throughout the state and indeed, the nation.”
“While I recognize that the investigation into the death of Mr. Champion is being handled by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the reality is that the death investigation significantly impacts the university, the Tallahassee community, and the State of Florida as a whole,” Scott wrote. “With this in mind, I believe it to be appropriate that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement become involved in investigating this matter.”
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