NCCU suspends drum line for hazing

The Marching Sound Machine will perform without the drum line at Saturday’s game against Duke

From staff reportsSeptember 13, 2012 

— N.C. Central University has suspended its marching band’s drum line for alleged hazing.

The suspension, which took effect Monday, means the Marching Sound Machine Band’s drum line will not be able to participate in all band-related activities until further notice.

“NCCU has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing,” according to a statement released by the university. “Hazing is a criminal behavior, as well as a direct violation of the university’s Student Code of Conduct and North Carolina General Statutes.”

The statement did not describe the alleged hazing or say where it occurred. Questions for the campus police department, including a copy of any reports, were referred to the Office of Public Relations.

In an email, Ayana D. Hernandez, director of public relations, said the alleged hazing was not reported through the NCCU Police Department, so there is no incident report. The NCCU Police Department is investigating the allegation, she said.

The Marching Sound Machine will perform in Saturday’s football game against Duke University without the drum line, she said.

In late 2011, NCCU formed a Task Force to review the university’s guidelines on hazing. Later, NCCU created a Committee on Hazing, Bullying and Student Harassment that is charged with developing new guidelines and strategies to ensure that the campus is free from hazing and student abuse.

NCCU has a connection to another band hazing incident that has put a spotlight on the issue.

In July, former NCCU Chancellor James Ammons resigned as president of Florida A&M University the same day parents of a drum major who died after being hazed at that university added the school to a wrongful death lawsuit, according to The Associated Press.

Robert Champion died in November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after a football game.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in the hazing, The Associated Press reported. They have pleaded not guilty.

The lawsuit brought by Champion’s parents claims FAMU officials didn’t take enough action to stop hazing.

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