Students, parents react to Marching 100's suspension lifted

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-27 18:09:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Florida A&M University leaders announce the return of the Marching 100.

It's been 18 months since the band was first placed on suspension.

This after the November 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

University Interim President Larry Robinson says it's time to move forward.

For band members, drill practice starts in August under the leadership of band director Sylvester Young.

"The Marching 100 is back," said band member Zachary Nealy.

Cheers erupt inside Lee Hall auditorium Thursday as FAMU's Interim President Larry Robinson announced he is reinstating the Marching 100.

"You know you go through these trials just in life and you have to bounce back from it," said Nealy.

It was November of 2011, the band was suspended just days after the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

In the time since, university leaders say they've taken the necessary action to rid the campus and the band of hazing.

The return of the Marching 100 is welcome news to parent Lakisha Dickerson whose daughter hopes to one day perform with the band.

"It's unfortunate for the event that happened and I'm not down playing any of it that happened with that young man," said Dickerson. "However, the program and the intent of the program is always a good idea."

Nealy is among those who are eager to get back in front of the crowds at Bragg Memorial Stadium.

"We're moving in the right direction," said Band Director Sylvester Young.

The Marching 100 could return as soon as this fall but with new rules including limits on practice hours and new standards for eligibility.

"What we're doing now is assessing returning students as well as new students," said Robinson.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against the university on behalf of Champion's parents is still pending in the court system.

More than a dozen people have also been charged in Champion's death.