FAMU Band Director Threatens Suit Over Firing

A lawyer for the fired band director told reporters that his client had been trying to stop hazing without school support, Robert E. Pierre writes in his column at The Root DC.

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Florida A&M University's marching band (Getty)

In his column at The Root DC, editor Robert E. Pierre addresses hazing on college campuses, following the firing of longtime Florida A&M band director Julian White after the death of a drum major. White's lawyer told the Associated Press that he had been trying to stop hazing without school support, Pierre writes.

The weekend after Thanksgiving typically gives black college bands one of their biggest stages at the Bayou Classic.

Southern University and Grambling University bands quare off in New Orleans for their annual family reunion party and rivalry.

But the biggest news this weekend around black college bands was whether a culture of hazing led to the death of Robert Champion, one the drum majors for the famed Marching 100 band at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. The band director, Julian White, has been fired. Band activities have been suspended. State and local criminal investigations are underway. And the governor has gotten involved after police said they think some form of hazing may have caused his injuries.

On Sunday, an attorney for White, the band director, threatened legal action against FAMU unless he is reinstated.

White’s “removal for the specious allegations of wrongdoing with respect to hazing is protected by the rules regarding tenure and could subject the university to separate legal action if he is denied the privileges and protections appertaining to his rank,” Tallahassee attorney Chuck Hobbs wrote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Read Robert E. Pierre's entire column at The Root DC.

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