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FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

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FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

Thanks to Tuba for the heads up on this story…we may be small, but we have a band for next year!

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Golden Panther Band at risk after six years of service

By Jorge Valens / Asst. News Director


After six years of existence, FIU’s Golden Panther Marching Band faces elimination in the shadow of massive budget cuts.

On March 24, a public forum was held in an empty sound hall at the School of Music in order for students and band members to emphasize the importance of the band and to voice their opinions on how the band can be spared.


According to Carla Geiger, FIU Athletic Bands’ director, the College of Architecture and The Arts, also known as CARTA, currently funds 65 percent of the band; the remainder is split between Student Government Association and the Athletics Department, each funding 21 percent and 14 percent respectively.


With budget cuts on the way for the next fiscal year, CARTA may not be able to fund the band any longer and SGA has been talking about cutting funding to the band altogether.


“We do not have the $237,000 that was our share of the cost of the band,” said former CARTA dean, Juan Bueno. “We don’t have that in the budget and we are about to lose another $800,000 now.”


He said that these cuts are not only unavoidable, but are also complimentary to the budget cuts the school faced last year.

In addition, Athletics stated that they have never funded the band.


“We neither fund the band nor does it report to us. And we also have difficult and possibly unpopular decisions ahead with more than $1 million in budget cuts of our own looming,” said Richard Kelch, Athletics’ director of media relations, in a written statement to Student Media.

SGA, which has funded the marching band every year, discussed eliminating SGA funding for the band at a recent budget allocation meeting because the band is comprised of a large portion of musicians who are not FIU students.

Outgoing Student Government Council at University Park President Arthur J. Meyer voiced SGA’s commitment to funding the marching band should all other parties continue to be involved.

“We are, as SGA, committed to full funding the marching band at what we’ve previously funded it, if there is a verbal and written commitment from the Athletics Department [and] from the University and/or college that they will provide the additional funding necessary to have a marching band,” Meyer said.


However, Anthony Rionda, SGC-UP president-elect highlighted the issue of the marching band consisting of many non-FIU students as a concern, during the March 24 forum.

“That’s just an additional point of how much student funding should go to a band in that 50 percent, more or less, are not full FIU students.

That is a point of concern to a lot of people,” Rionda said.

According to an e-mail to Student Media by Geiger, “During the 2008-09 season, the band consisted of 70 members. Of those 70, 36 were currently enrolled FIU students – that number includes four [Miami-Dade College] transient students registered for the class – and 34 were not.”

She said that since she was charged with heading the marching band, she had raised the percentage of enrolled students to 51 percent, with the ultimate goal of 100 percent within the next year.

Bueno noted that he had been unable to arrange a meeting with Athletics.

“We scheduled a meeting, it did not happen,” he said. “We did our half.”

Before ending the forum, Bueno and Rionda both suggested that students should continue to meet with decision makers and to not give up hope.

Since the forum, band members have continued to fight for their program by circulating a petition and by holding a demonstration at the Graham Center fountain.


Currently, the petition has accumulated more than 2,000 signatures and has been submitted to President Modesto A. Maidique for consideration.

“If the marching band is eliminated, [FIU] will be the only Division I university in the country without a marching band, or an athletics band for that matter,” said Ernesto Fernandez, FIU band drum major and incoming president of Kappa Kappa Si, a national fraternity for college bands.

Students at the demonstration voiced their concerns as they signed the petition in favor of keeping the band.

“It’s horrible, it feels like half of our spirit is taken away,” said FIU Dazzler Lauren Perez.


Source:  fiusm.com
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

I hope they can save it, but with all these budget crisis the odds are proably not good.

I enjoy FAU's band and have noticed how much it brings to the atmosphere for Football. The Sound of the South and USF's band really rocked lockhart and I have no doubt that one day FAU's band will acheive the numbers needed to do the same.

I was a little surprised that many members of the band were not students though!  ???

Is this true at FAU as well?

I cant quite figure out if you werent/arent a student why you would be in the band.

I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick @$$ and I'm out of bubble gum.

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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

Good point…

Knew there was some "catch" as to how they had the numbers they had…

Sitting at the game last season, and looking at their band and asking "how is this possible?"

That's how!
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

FIU's band used to be MUCH bigger, almost double what they are now. They have gotten smaller every year for the past four years, or so it seems. We also have transient students from BCC and PBCC and people do this simply because they want to continue marching after high school is over. Why don't they get rid of the dance team and half the cheerleading squad first? I may be biased, but the dance team doesn't add much to football games, basketball games are a bit better, but without a band its just not the same. I think FAU will be safe from cutting it's band…i hope.
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

Florida_Owl said

Good point…

Knew there was some "catch" as to how they had the numbers they had…

Sitting at the game last season, and looking at their band and asking "how is this possible?"

That's how!

There's no "catch", just other more reasonable reasons.  Many School bands do it,it seems.  Actually, the 3 schools in South Florida, FIU, UM, and also FAU (refer to post by FAUfasho's post above), have members that are not "current" students….not just FIU…

It's just a pity that with these budget cuts, different programs…academic, athletic, and other student-related, are going to be reduced or cut at ALL state universities….I feel bad for the band and for the "hit" the ambiance will take.  As FAUasho noted, the FIU band has actually decreased in size over the last several years, particularly since the new band director arrived, it appears to me.  Hope they save it somehow, though!
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

FIUFanatic said

Florida_Owl said

Good point…

Knew there was some "catch" as to how they had the numbers they had…

Sitting at the game last season, and looking at their band and asking "how is this possible?"

That's how!

There's no "catch", just other more reasonable reasons.  Many School bands do it,it seems.  Actually, the 3 schools in South Florida, FIU, UM, and also FAU (refer to post by FAUfasho's post above), have members that are not "current" students….not just FIU…

It's just a pity that with these budget cuts, different programs…academic, athletic, and other student-related, are going to be reduced or cut at ALL state universities….I feel bad for the band and for the "hit" the ambiance will take.  As FAUasho noted, the FIU band has actually decreased in size over the last several years, particularly since the new band director arrived, it appears to me.  Hope they save it somehow, though!

i never knew you could be in the band and be "non-student"…
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

Me neither, I would of thought you had to attend the university in order to be in the band.

So in regards to travel and lodgeing (AKA Expenses) its possible that university's are paying for people who dont go to the school and dont pay tuition.  ???

I can see where the administration would be reluctant in that regards to sending them to out of state venues.

Very interesting.

I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick @$$ and I'm out of bubble gum.

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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

owlfamily said

Me neither, I would of thought you had to attend the university in order to be in the band.


Actually most schools do this, at least to my knowledge. I know FSU and UCF do it. I think you just have to be enrolled at some school, like a community college. I know of people from Tallahassee Community College who march in FSU's band and Valencia in Orlando who march with UCF. It helps keep numbers up. I can see how people might have a problem with people getting money who do not attend the University though. But like I said earlier, out of the 50 or so total members we had last year, no more than ten were transient students. Also, they still have to pay for the class since band is a class.
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

Faufashow do you see our numbers going up this year
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Re: FIU Band In Jeopardy; Faces Elimination

I think they should keep the band and disband the football team, at least the band sounds good. ;D

GO OWLS!
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