Local News

NCCU's drum line suspended amid hazing claims

Posted September 13, 2012 12:22 p.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2012 7:05 p.m. EDT

— Hazing allegations have prompted North Carolina Central University to suspend nearly a quarter of its marching band.

According to a statement the university released Thursday morning, the Marching Sound Machine Band's 36-member drum line is not allowed to participate in any band-related activities while the allegations are being investigated.

"NCCU has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing," the statement read. "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 suspension, which does not affect band members' status at the university, went into effect Monday after some individuals in the band complained of what Kevin Rome, vice chancellor for student affairs, described as "general hazing."

He would not go into details about the accusations or say who specifically might have been involved.

Rome said he expects the university's investigation to be complete as early as next week

That means, however, that the drum line won't be able to play this Saturday when the NCCU Eagles face off against the Duke Blue Devils in Durham's Bull City Gridiron Classic.

Students called the suspension a big loss.

"The drum line is, sort of, what makes up the backbone of the marching band in the first place," student Larry McGill said. "To hear that it's been suspended is almost like having the backbone of the band taken out."

Rysden Dunn is on NCCU's dance team.

"We dance to what they're playing, so, I don't even know how (Saturday's performance) will work out," she said. "So, the whole band is going to fall apart, basically, without the drum line."

In November, a drum major for Florida A&M University's Marching 100, died after he was beaten by band mates during a hazing ritual.

The death prompted the band's director to resign and the university to suspend the band.

The university's president, James Ammons, also resigned. Ammons had been the chancellor at NCCU until 2007, when he left the post for Florida A&M.

Rome said the Florida case was not a factor in the university's actions.

"We would take these actions, regardless of whether the incident happened at Florida A&M," he said. "It's the right thing to do."