TALLAHASSEE, Fla – An attorney for a former Florida A&M University (FAMU) band director, fired amidst claims a student's death was linked to hazing, said in a letter released to the media Sunday that his client may seek legal action against the school if he is not reinstated.
Julian White was dismissed Wednesday by FAMU president James Ammons for "alleged misconduct and/or incompetence involving confirmed reports and allegations of hazing," four days after student Robert Champion died.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said hazing was being investigated as a possible contributing factor to Champion's death.
"[We] believe that [White's] removal for the specious allegations of wrongdoing with respect to hazing is protected by the rules regarding tenure and could subject the university to separate legal action if he is denied the privileges and protections appertaining to his rank," Tallahassee attorney Chuck Hobbs wrote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The letter claims that White "has been at the vanguard of implementing measures to eliminate hazing within the Marching 100 over the past 22 years."
Champion, a 26-year-old drum major, was on a charter bus outside the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando on the night of Nov. 19 when he became nauseous and complained he was unable to breathe.
He was returning from a football game where his high profile marching band, known as "The Marching 100," had performed, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Friends on the bus called 911 and performed CPR on Champion, an Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.
When deputies arrived on the scene just after 9:45pm local time, they found Champion unresponsive. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An official cause of death has not yet been announced, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. No one has been arrested or charged in connection with his death.
Champion's family has reportedly hired an attorney and plans to sue FAMU and White.