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FAMU Band Member Claims Verbal Harassment

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The Florida A&M University marching band performs on the field prior to Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Florida A&M University marching band performs on the field prior to Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – A trombone player with the Florida A&M University marching band claims he was verbally harassed by a fellow band member for not joining a subgroup of the band’s trombone section known as “Thunder.”

In a letter to interim Music Department Chairwoman Valencia Matthews, band staff member Robert Griffin wrote that the student said he was repeatedly subjected to verbal harassment and decided to report the incidents “before the situation became violent,” according to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat.

It was not clear when the alleged harassment took place.

Griffin and Associate Professor Shelby Chipman told the student to report the allegations to the FAMU Police Department which is now investigating the complaint.

In November, drum major Robert Champion died after a hazing ritual. An autopsy ruled the death a homicide. It concluded Champion suffered blunt trauma blows to his body and died from shock caused by severe bleeding.

The band was suspended following Champion’s death and remain inactive.

Any death involving hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida, but no charges have been filed so far in Champion’s death. In a separate case, three band members were arrested in the Oct. 31 beating of a woman band member whose thigh bone was broken.

Earlier this year, an independent five-member committee was created to study hazing, methods that have helped students resist hazing and how to best govern FAMU’s famed Marching 100 band.

(TM and © Copyright 20121 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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