We have been struggling to find the words to describe Charlie Brown’s significance to the fabric of Shaw University. To say that he is simply the Director of Bands at Shaw, would be a gross understatement.
Mr. Brown has been a father figure, a mentor and a walking talking inspiration for thousands of Shaw students since the early eighties. He’s a graduate of Shaw University and his dedication has been unmatched. After nearly 38 years of service to Shaw University, hundreds of people were extremely saddened when they learned about his suspension through social media. One former student wrote:
“No dedicated member of the Shaw University family deserves to be treated the way Charles Brown has been during this ordeal simply for passionately standing up for the students he was largely responsible for introducing to the Institution. Mr. Brown is responsible for bringing so many great minds to that University, many of whom have gone off and made the founders of this great institution extremly proud. During a time when Shaw is under a bright spotlight, this is simply unacceptable. As a university, we are promoting 150 years of strides toward excellence. Our marching band was on the eve of an extraordinary recruitment opportunity in the Queen City Battle of the bands in Charlotte and in beginning preparations for an opportune moment of visibility which would surely be garnered in the scheduled head-to-head match up against North Carolina A&T whose band program was recently named 2nd in the nation for HBCU band programs (a rating that has led to tremendous growth in student enrollment) Our President has single-handedly destroyed these opportunities by miring our band program in controversy and taking away a sense of pride our students and alumni have been anxiously anticipating. The HBCU marching band is one of the most vital thermometers by which the strength of an HBCU program is measured. Those with strong programs, have strong recruitment. Those with strong recruitment have greater dollars flowing into the University thus funding the number one mission of any educational institution–educating our young minds. What a sad day for the University. Personally, Mr. Brown is responsible for recruiting me to Shaw University all the way from Norfolk, Virginia. Because of him, I bypassed Norfolk State, Hampton, Old Dominion, Virginia State and host of other programs between Norfolk and Raleigh. There are so many who share that exact story. It its time for egos to be placed aside for the betterment of Shaw University’s future. This is about more than simple protocols and feelings. This is about continuing the legacy of the oldest HBCU in the South. Are these protocols seriously worth the bruise this matter inflicts on the health of our school’s image? I think not. Therefore, on the behalf of myself and so many others who have been impacted by this educator, this father, this mentor, this life changer, Bring Charles Brown Back.”