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The head of Florida A&M University proposed stringent requirements Monday for membership in the school’s famed marching band, bidding to stamp out a culture of hazing at the university after the November beating death of a drum major.

FAMU President James Ammons said only full-time students should be allowed entry into The Marching 100 under a broad plan that would also limit student participation in the band to four years and stiffen the academic requirements for joining.

He also requested creation of the post of an “anti-hazing special assistant to the president” with wide-ranging authority to address hazing at the university and adding a compliance officer in the school’s music department to ensure students heed eligibility requirements. Ammons also proposed adding three new positions to the school office responsible for overseeing student conduct.
Ammons suspended the band shortly after Robert Champion’s death following a band performance last November in Orlando. Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in Champion’s hazing. In taking that action last month, Ammons said The Marching 100 would remain off the field for the next year while FAMU moves to clean up a culture of hazing surrounding the band.
The university also needs to find a new band director since long-time director Julian White announced his retirement.
Some of the changes sought Monday by Ammons had been proposed by others who said the band needs to be managed like a successful football program.
University trustees later this week are scheduled to discuss anti-hazing efforts and how the university will move ahead while the band is suspended. One proposal includes using a battle of DJ’s at FAMU home football games.
The chairman of FAMU’s board said many of the suggestions from Ammons mirror ideas he and others have been considering. “The intent is to get the band and all group activities under control,” Solomon Badger added.
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