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11-23-2011, 01:10 AM #1
FL - Hazing involved in FAMU drum major Robert Champion's death
Orange County Sheriff: Hazing involved in FAMU student's death
The death of a Florida A&M University student and drum major in the school’s famous Marching “100” band may have been linked to hazing, according to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
The student, 26-year-old Robert Champion was with the Marching "100" in Orlando this week, where they were performing during the Florida Classic football game. ..........Champion had just gotten off of the bus when he began vomiting and complaining he could not breathe.
Champion was rushed to Doctor Phillips Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Sheriff Demings has said that any students responsible in the hazing will face felony charges. No arrests have been made yet, and the investigation is ongoing.
The president of Florida A&M University, Dr. James Ammons, says the band has been suspended “indefinitely”, or until the investigation is finished..........
Ammons also announced plans to launch a separate task to see if there are any “questionable actions” of “culture” of the Marching “100”. He says that this task force's role will not be to find a culprit in the alleged hazing, that job is for Orange County Sheriff's Office detectives, but to focus solely on the behavior of the band.
11-23-2011, 01:22 AM #2
More information and includes video from Sheriff Demings:
He states the autopsy is inconclusive and more tests are needed...the investigation is continuing..
11-23-2011, 01:31 AM #3
FAMU pays tribute to drum major
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Hundreds packed an auditorium on Florida A and M University's campus Tuesday night to remember 26-year-old Robert Champion.
Robert came to school, first year, didn't have much money, low scholarship, he had to drop out, he came back again, he had to drop out again,” said Julian White, FAMU Director of Bands, “(but) he stayed and he worked.”
..........I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure we eradicate hazing from this campus,” said FAMU President James Ammons.
11-24-2011, 12:10 AM #4
By Arelis R. Hernández and Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel
November 23, 2011
FAMU has fired longtime band director Julian White, four days after the death of a drum major in which police say hazing was involved.
"Dr. White has been terminated from employment at the university," said FAMU President James Ammons, citing White's "inability to stop hazing in the department of music and in the band."
"We are serious: This has to stop," Ammons said in an interview with the Sentinel. "The highest priority we have as a university is protecting the health, safety and well-being of our students."
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday sent a letter requesting that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement assist in the investigation "to assure that the circumstances … become fully known."
Parents of several members of the FAMU "Marching 100" band told the Sentinel on Tuesday that they have implored university officials for months to end verbal and physical abuse in the band.
Dr. Walter Kimbrough, an expert on hazing, said that, with Champion's death, the culture of violence within the "Marching 100" has reached crisis levels.
Kimbrough was an expert witness in the 1998 hazing case of FAMU clarinet player Ivery Luckey, hospitalized for 11 days with kidney failure after he was paddled during a initiation ritual.
"There is a major hazing-culture problem on this campus," Kimbrough said. "This has to be a wake-up call."
Luckey later sued the school and settled for $50,000. Another former band member, Marcus Parker, won a $1.8 million verdict against members of the band in 2004.
More at link...
11-24-2011, 12:25 AM #5Inactive
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
this really bothers me. I didn't expect hazing in Marching Band I don't know why, but the band kids I know in high school are so charming and respectful -- I don't want that to change when my son goes off to college (and will try out for marching band).
It horrifies me! Right now the parents are there at practice and events -- college, not so much.
After reading this article I sat down with my 14 year old and told him it was NOT okay to be on the receiving or giving end, and if he sees anything like that he needs to tell me. I would have said tell another adult, but after the Penn State fiasco, I'm not very trusting. If I ever hear or see this type of behaviour, they better watch out! I won't put up with it, not for a second.
May this young man rest in peace. And may those involved pay the price!!
11-25-2011, 01:21 PM #6
TALLAHASSEE -- Fallout from the death of a Florida A&M University drum major intensified this week with the firing of the school’s band director, the suspensions of four students and Gov. Rick Scott ordering the state’s law enforcement agency to assist with the investigation.
Ammons refused to give details about the suspensions, citing student privacy laws. He said they were suspended because of their “known association with the hazing that took place over the weekend.”
On Tuesday, he indefinitely suspended the 375-member marching band and other performance ensembles supervised by the music department.
In a letter to FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, Gov. Scott said he wanted Champion’s death “to become fully known” and for anyone directly or indirectly responsible for his death to be brought to justice.
“The reality,” Scott wrote, “is that the death investigation significantly impacts the University, the Tallahassee community and the State of Florida as a whole.”
His group sang Total Praise during Champion’s memorial service on campus Tuesday. Champion was one of six drum majors — a big-time leader.
“He didn’t mess with anybody,” Thomas said. “If he had to get on you it was because it was his duty as a natural-born leader.”
Thirty band members have been suspended this semester because of hazing allegations, and the university has three active hazing investigations.
Death involving hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida, but hazing has permeated the band and university.
Administrators met with the band and staff twice last week to warn of the legal consequences of hazing, Ammons said.
Ultimately, Thomas said, it’s up to students to break the culture.
“It’s all about choices,” Thomas said. “You have a choice to do certain things, and then you have a choice not to.”
11-29-2011, 06:56 PM #7
On the day Robert Champion died, he texted his parents a photograph of himself with a young boy from a children's marching band......
"When I woke up on Thanksgiving I tried to write down what I had to be thankful for, and I thought it was that I was thankful that I was chosen to be his mother," his mother said.
11-29-2011, 07:01 PM #8
......The mom said her son had always dreamed of joining the marching band.
"His first sight of the [Florida A&M University] band was at the age of 5. And ever since then, he set his goal," she told ABC News. "He would march around in the driveway with a broom handle."
Police and former band members say Champion was likely forced to walk through a "gauntlet of fists." He reportedly vomited and said he couldn't breathe moments before his death.
"He wanted to be a part of music and that's the way he lived his life," his father said, "He wanted to get a degree in music and try to help other people, other kids develop themselves. And I'm proud of him."
That joyful spirit is what they now remember.
11-29-2011, 07:13 PM #9
Ex-FAMU band leader wants job back
He thinks he was unfairly dismissed...
"White says he fears the hazing linked to the death could mean the end of the school's famed Marching 100 band. The band had performed at Super Bowls and other high-profile events."
Despite suspensions, hazing persisted at FAMU
"A former band member told The Associated Press on Tuesday that White looked for ways to eradicate a culture of hazing that existed in many instrument sections of the band. White invited band members to anonymously report hazing and even had police come along on some away games, former drum major Timothy Barber told AP."
11-29-2011, 07:20 PM #10
Florida A&M hazing scandal: Drum major’s family will sue school, attorney says
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...#ixzz1f8gfh3gL
Attorney Christopher Chestnut said Robert Champion's family is bringing the lawsuit against the historically black university in order to send a message about the dangers of hazing among college bands, Atlanta television station WXIA reported.
A cause of death hasn't been determined, but school officials said it was a case of hazing gone wrong.
Though he was one of the senior members of the famed band, the Marching 100, rumors swirled on blogs and social media sites that Champion may have been targeted by his bandmates because he dropped his baton during a performance, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
No arrests have been made.
"They are going to have to treat this like a fraternity and sorority case," Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Philander Smith College in Arkansas, told the Journal Constitution. "You shut down the band for several years."
"If this was a fraternity death, the chapter gets suspended. That is the boldest, most controversial step the school could make," he added.
11-29-2011, 07:34 PM #11Inactive
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
FAMU band hazing goes way back, reports sayFormer victim feared it would happen again.
He knew it would take hard work, practice and dedication.
But Luckey eventually found out what it really took -- a trip through a gauntlet in which he was severely beaten by a group of established clarinet players.
The director of the Marching Band knew this was going on (this student survived and filed a lawsuit). It goes as far back as 1988..
An Oct. 20, 1998, letter sent by several parents informed FAMU and Marching 100 officials that their children had been beaten and paddled during hazing incidents.
So frustrating! A life could have been saved!!
12-01-2011, 03:52 PM #12Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
The only way to stop this is to get rid of all of them, and start fresh. Once hazing gets entrenched in an organization, it gets worse and worse with each passing of leadership - the desire to torture others as they have been tortured is just too strong to extinguish. It does seem, in looking back through the history of this in the last decade or so the administration did try hard, and White tried hard, to eliminate hazing from the point of Ivery Luckey's successful lawsuit for injuries, settled in 2004.
Get rid of them all, and start afresh with a new group of freshmen next fall.
12-01-2011, 04:11 PM #13Inactive
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
I see it in high school - all the cliques and how each section tries to be the most popular. Who can have the coolest t-shirts, who can have the best players.
I also think judging needs to change. Stop judging sections like drumeline, percussion, horns, etc. Again, this is why each section is so competitive of the other! Judge the marching band alone to force everyone to work as a team.
And get rid of that crappy band director, who no doubt assigns his terrorist section leaders. In any case, the entire band will have to be realigned if there's any chance of success and to prevent hazing in the future.
12-02-2011, 12:54 AM #14
911 tape reveals hectic efforts to save FAMU drum major
Band members who were with Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion on the bus in a parking lot in Orlando, Florida, where he died last month tried frantically to get him help when they realized he was not breathing, a 911 tape released Thursday reveals.
"One of our drum majors is on the bus and not breathing," a male caller tells a female dispatcher for the Orange County Fire Rescue.
"Is he breathing or is he not breathing?" she asks.
"We don't know if he's breathing or not, but we need to get an ambulance ASAP."
More at link...
12-02-2011, 01:00 AM #15
FAMU hazing persisted despite suspensions, probes
Two decades ago, the now-ousted director of the Florida A&M band warned in a letter about the dangers of hazing among the famed "Marching 100" ensemble, saying "it would be very difficult for the university and the band should someone become killed or hurt."
In the following years, however, hazing seemed to become a bigger - if not a more public - problem. Police investigated several serious cases and students were arrested. Anti-hazing workshops were held. Dozens of band members were suspended. University officials and the marching band community were keenly aware of the persistent hazing, yet it continued and is believed to have played a role in the death this month of a 26-year-old drum major, Robert Champion.
Champion's death started a blame game of sorts, with the historically black college in Tallahassee firing its band director, Julian White, accusing him of "misconduct and/or incompetence." In turn, White released more than 150 pages of documents showing that he warned the university for years about what was going on.
More at link....
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