FAMU has appointed Sylvester Young, a former music professor at Ohio University, as its new marching bad director.
The school’s marching band has been suspended indefinitely since the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in late 2011. It’s still not clear when the band — which had become a symbol of Florida’s only public, historically black university — will be able to perform again, according to the Orlando Sentinel. However, Young is scheduled to start on June 14 and says one of his main focuses will be changing the culture of hazing within the band.
“Other schools are watching us very closely,” Young said during a news conference to announce his hiring. “We can actually come out of this being an icon for all other universities.”
Young, who played in the FAMU band as a student, received a bachelor’s degree in music education from FAMU in 1969, and he has a doctorate degree in music education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
FAMU’s interim president, Larry Robinson, told the Orlando Sentinel that officials “are still assessing the right conditions needed to lift the suspension of the Marching 100.”