MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just days before Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band finds out if they will ever be able to play again, the band’s director of 40 years has called it quits.

Dr. Julian White announced Thursday that he will retire.

FAMU President James Ammons will discuss the return of the band at a special meeting in the next few days. According to board member Torey Alston, and a letter from Ammons, a band’s fate will be discussed at a special meeting of the board of trustees on either Friday or Monday.

Florida’s top state university official has asked Florida A&M University to keep its famed band off the field.

The band’s future was put in jeopardy after the hazing death of Robert Champion, a drum major who died on a bus outside an Orlando hotel.  Eleven FAMU band members have been charged with felony hazing in connection to Champion’s death. Two others have been charged with misdemeanors.

On Tuesday Ammons wrote in a letter that he was having the university “internal crisis management team” speak to faculty, students, as well as boosters and alumni about what conditions should be met before the Marching 100 can return.

Pam Champion, the mother of the victim, has said the band should be disbanded so the university can “clean house”. She and the family’s attorney believe there is a considerable effort among students and others to cover up who is responsible for her son’s death.

The Champion family has made it known that they will be suing the university.

Critics said there have been years of repeated warnings about brutal hazing passed without any serious response from the school’s leadership until Champion’s death. Nearly two dozen incidents involving the band, fraternities and other student groups have been investigated.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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