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FAMU Band Member Says He Was Verbally Harassed

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The Florida A&M University marching band seen in actionprior 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 seen in actionprior 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, Fla. (AP) — A Florida A&M band member said he was verbally harassed by another member for not joining a subgroup of the band’s trombone section known as “Thunder,” according to a letter written by a band staff member to the head of the music department.

Robert Griffin writes in his letter to interim Music Department Chairwoman Valencia Matthews that the Marching 100 trombone player said Tuesday he was repeatedly subjected to verbal harassment and decided he needed to report the incidents “before the situation became violent,” according to a Tallahassee Democrat (http://on.tdo.com/yNmBAE) report on Friday. It was not clear when the harassment is alleged to have taken 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, the newspaper reported. The student was also told to inquire about the need for a restraining order.

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.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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