Conflicting reports about FAMU band meeting

Meeting held 3 days before Robert Champion's death


TALAHASSEE, Fla. – Conflicting reports are emerging about what happened in a meeting of Florida A&M University administrators three days before a drum major was beaten to death in a hazing ritual.

Notes of the meeting say there was an effort to suspend the band, but the administrator who held the meeting said the topic never came up.

Robert Champion died on Nov. 19. Eleven defendants charged with felony hazing in connection with his death are scheduled to go to trial in October.

The notes from the November meeting suggest that then FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross recommended suspending the band because of hazing cases the department was investigating.

But former Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris said there was never a recommendation to suspend the band.

"I have no memory that a suggestion was made or was not made. It was an active discussion focused on our concern that we did not want anything negative to happen," she said.

Ross, who declined to be interviewed on camera, said his notes were accurate.

Harris said she couldn't comment on why there were differing notes.

The attorney for retired band Director Julian White said his client also remembers discussing suspending the band, that White opposed the suspension, and recalls that "no one in the room had the authority to make that decision," according to Capital News.