TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP/WAOK) — The embattled head of Florida A&M University’s marching band is retiring.

FAMU officials tried to fire Julian White, the director of the Marching 100, following the death of drum major Robert Champion in November. White initially fought the dismissal and was placed on administrative leave at the urging of criminal authorities investigating Champion’s death.

On Thursday attorneys announced the 71-year-old White would retire instead of trying to fight to keep his job.

Last week, 11 FAMU band members were charged with felony hazing. Two others face misdemeanor counts. On Wednesday it was reported by the Orlando Sentinel that three of the people facing charges in Robert Champion’s death were not even students at the school but were on the bus with the rest of the band members when Champion died.

Pam Champion, the mother of Robert Champion, has said that the band should be disbanded so the university can “clean house.” She and the family’s attorney contend there is a vast effort among students and others to cover up who is responsible for her son’s death.

There is also an ongoing criminal investigation into the finances of the band, as well as a probe by the state university system into whether top officials at the university ignored past warnings about hazing.

The band has been suspended since November. FAMU President James Ammons is expected to discuss the band at a special meeting of the university board of trustees either Friday or Monday.

More in this report from CBS News


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