By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A music professor at Florida A&M University, the school rocked by the hazing death of a marching band member last fall, has been suspended over allegations he joined in the ritualistic beating of fraternity pledges at his home, authorities said on Thursday.
FAMU said one other professor had been suspended along with saxophone teacher Diron Holloway due to the alleged hazing incident during a party at Holloway's off-campus residence in the spring of 2010.
The two were placed on administrative leave on Wednesday evening due to allegations contained in a newly released police report, an FAMU statement said.
"This administrative action occurred due to 'allegations of misconduct and/or incompetence,'" the university said.
It said the matter was still under review and "the university will take appropriate action against faculty members or students, up to and including dismissals."
The teachers were suspended after police in Tallahassee said Holloway was alleged to have taken part in beating student fraternity pledges during the house party he hosted.
Student witnesses told investigators that FAMU's euphonium and tuba professor Anthony Simons III also was present, police said.
They said a student had told investigators that 14 fraternity pledges were held in a bathroom at Holloway's house and brought in pairs into the living room where they were hit on the back and neck.
The pledges were also paddled with a thick piece of wood, according to the student, who asked not to be identified and declined to press charges.
Prosecutors closed the case without filing charges because they were unable to determine the exact date of the party and prove it occurred within the two-year statute of limitations.
Holloway did not return messages seeking comment after the release of the police report Wednesday morning. Simons' lawyer said his client did not remember whether he was at the party in question, but that he never witnessed or participated in hazing.
The incident came to light after Robert Champion, 26, drum major for the school's renowned marching band, was beaten to death in November 2011 during a hazing ritual aboard a charter bus while the band was in Orlando.
Orlando Police on Monday turned over their investigative files to prosecutors who will decide whether to file charges in Champion's death.
Several FAMU students have been arrested in connection with other hazing events.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Paul Thomasch)