The marching band for Florida A&M University (FAMU) recently underwent an investigation into its finances and other practices after a member died following a hazing incident. An accounts payable audit discovered several discrepancies, and the school is currently reviewing the findings.
Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), who have already concluded their research, discovered that many band members had received duplicate payments for reimbursements from the university for travel expenses. Students that are a part of the band are given per diem payments to cover costs when traveling for school-related functions. Additionally, many people who were band members but were not students, such as elementary, middle and high school students as well as alumni, were given money by the university to pay for travel expenses. Investigators say this goes against FAMU policy, as many members that received payments were not authorized to perform with the band because they were not students.
The AP audit also found that the band's former director, Julian White, failed to immediately report missing funds to the university. White allegedly had collected between $30,000 and $40,000 for the organization a few years ago, and instead of depositing the money into an FAMU account, he stored it in a locked room. The amount was eventually stolen and White did not alert the university until three months after it had gone missing. White resigned from his position in May of this year.
"Neither FAMU nor then band director Julian White could provide an explanation of how and/or why this occurred," investigators wrote about the discrepancies, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. "They did, however, acknowledge that there was university policy that disallowed this practice. Each party indicated that it was the other’s responsibility to ensure the policy was followed."