Even after those serious incidents, the emails and records show, the band hazing continued and the school couldn't — or wouldn't — stop it. At the same time, some professors insisted that hazing had been eradicated.
Music professor Lindsay Sarjeant boasted to a professor at the University of Southern California in the fall of 2010 that "I'm happy to tell you that we were very successful in completely eradicating hazing from the Florida A&M University Band. It was hard and took several years to change the mind set of the non significance of hazing in any form ... At FAMU, the consequences are too severe to engage in any form of hazing, mental and physical."
Ammons and other FAMU officials refused to answer questions for this story, citing the advice of attorneys as the university awaits the outcome of ongoing investigations. The panel that oversees the state university system has also launched its own investigation The Board of Governors wants to know whether FAMU officials ignored past warnings about hazing.
Champion's death remains under investigation by state and Orange County law-enforcement authorities and no arrests have been made.
The 26-year-old died from a shock caused by severe bleeding following a hazing ritual that occurred on a bus outside an Orlando hotel where the band was staying. It came hours after Florida A&M's annual football game against archrival Bethune-Cookman, which features a halftime Battle of the Bands.
Ammons fired band director White after Champion's death. White hired an attorney and fired back, producing thick stacks of letters that showed he routinely suspended band members and that he forwarded this letters to top officials. His dismissal was put on hold at the urging of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating Champion's death along with Orange County authorities.
School officials contend that they did not receive any recent letters until White was initially dismissed by the school. Public records turned over by the university so far have not included any correspondence from top administrators responding to White in recent years.
A batch of emails, however, does show that on Nov. 14 White forwarded to police and top administrators — including Ammons — a report that discussed hazing allegations involving members of the trombone section. The report details how band members were suspended from performing in a Veterans Day parade and how they argued with an assistant professor contending that they had done nothing wrong.
Some parents, such as Cheryl Walker back in 2009, did put part of the blame on White. She told administrators that he had not responded to her text message for help. Police files show that in 2002 an investigator for FAMU police chided White, contending he had "hampered" an investigation because he delayed before he reported an incident.
White, in his own words, expressed frustration about hazing after he was forced to suspend band members last November.
"Don't want a Joe Paterno Penn State problem at FAMU," White wrote in a Nov. 11 email to a friend who was a band director at a Panhandle high school.
Eight days later Robert Champion would be dead.
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