UPDATE: Sylvester Young selected as new FAMU band director

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Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 7:29 pm | Updated: 9:58 pm, Thu Dec 19, 2013.

UPDATE (May 7, 2013 - 12:03 P.M.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Florida A&M University Interim President Larry Robinson announced Tuesday afternoon that Sylvester Young has been hired as the new band director.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) --The new director of Florida A&M University's famed Marching 100 is expected to be announced Tuesday.

The announcement is scheduled to be made around 12:00 p.m.

The new director is expected to be one of two final candidates interviewed by university leaders in early April.

They are former Ohio University music professor Sylvester Young and Don Roberts, who is the instrumental music coordinator for Dekalb County School District in Georgia.

The search for a replacement has been going on for nearly a year now; since May of 2012 when 40-year veteran, Dr. Julian White, announced his resignation citing the publicity he garnered after the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. White's resignation also came after it was discovered more than 100 members of the Marching 100 were not enrolled in classes at the university. 

At the time of his resignation, Dr. White was on suspension, a sanction handed down by then-university president, Dr. James Ammons, not long after the November 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion during a band trip to the Florida Classic in Orlando.

The fallout stemming from Champion's death has resulted in multiple criminal investigations, the arrest of 13 band members in connection with Champion's death, and a change in leadership in various departments including the music department and the resignation of Ammons.

In January, FAMU officials said they were starting over in their search for a new band director. They had planned to appoint Jorim Reid of North Carolina Central University, but they said Reid and the university disagreed over the duties of the band director.

The university changed the job following the hazing-related death of drum major Robert Champion.

In December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools cited the university's leadership's handling of the fallout from the hazing death as one of their reasons for placing FAMU on academic probation for one year.

The hiring of a new band director is the latest in a series of measures to combat the issue of hazing on campus and to move forward.


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