Florida Board of Governors Chairwoman Ava Parker has asked Chancellor Frank Brogan to initiate an investigation into Florida A & M University administration’s handling of hazing in the wake of the death of Marching 100 drummer Robert Champion. Parker asked that Board of Governors’ inspector general lead the inquiry.
Parker sent a lettera letter to FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Solomon Badger on Tuesday – the day before Champion’s funeral – advising him of the investigation. The inquiry comes alongside investigations into Champion’s death by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. FAMU has also created a hazing task force headed by former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth and former Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil, now the chief of policy in Quincy.
The latest investigation was prompted by Julian White, the former director of the famed Marching 100 band fired by FAMU President James Ammons last week. White told reporters yesterday he repeatedly warned university leaders for more than decades about the practice of hazing but was ignored. White also said he suspended 26 band members for hazing two weeks before Champion’s death on Nov. 19.
“The events surrounding the tragic death of Robert Champion and allegations by Dr. White that he received little support despite repeatedly advising current and former university administrators of hazing activities within the Marching 100 band, is of grave concern to the Board of Governors,” Parker wrote, adding that the state university system has a “no-hazing” policy.
“While we are aware that the university has a regulation and a rule in place to prohibit hazing activities and to penalize students for engaging in such activities, we are asking Chancellor Brogan to initiate an investigation to determine whether university administration took appropriate action to address the hazing activities referenced by Dr. White and any hazing activities in the student population at large,” she wrote.