Amid hazing scandal, FAMU band director retiring

May 11, 2012 at 2:36 PM
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 11 (UPI) -- The Florida A&M University band director, who has been sharply criticized since the November hazing death of drum major Robert Champion, said he is retiring.

Julian White, 71, told the Orlando Sentinel he would leave the job "as soon as possible."

He said recent developments "had something to do with" his retirement but that he "wouldn't say it was forced."

White said his decision to retire had more to do with his family, including his 2-year-old granddaughter. He has been on paid administrative leave since shortly after Champion's death.

Champion, 26, was repeatedly beaten, kicked and choked on a bus outside an Orlando hotel after a football game at the Citrus Bowl, where the band performed.

Last week, 11 people were charged with felony hazing in Champion's death. Two others were charged with misdemeanors in the hazing of two other band members on the same bus that evening.

White's retirement comes after FAMU revealed at least two of the 11 people charged with felony hazing in Champion's death were not eligible to be in the marching band, which has been suspended indefinitely. Membership in the Marching 100 is open to non-FAMU students who attend Florida State University or Tallahassee Community Collage and also enroll in a band course at FAMU.

University President James Ammons said 49 students from FSU and TCC were in the band but not enrolled in the required band class.

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