Not really sure when those with positions of authority in these organizations and bands will get the memo that hazing is wrong on so many levels and needs to stop. But maybe, just maybe, after the death of Robert Champion and the charges brought against 13 members of FAMU’s legendary band, people will learn.
Champion, a 26-year-old drum major at FAMU, was beaten to death aboard a chartered bus after a performance last fall. Band members beat Champion severely, leaving large bruises on his chest, arms, shoulders and back, according to the AP. Witnesses to the beating say Champion might have been targeted not only because he was against members partaking in hazing, but also because he was gay, and was a candidate for the role of chief drum major.
The 13 individuals had the charges brought against them today, five months after the incident happened, and 11 out of the 13 people will face a hazing resulting in death charge, which can carry up to six years. The other two individuals will face misdemeanor charges for their role in Champion’s death. While the parents of the young man were pleased that charges were being filed, they were disappointed that the charges were not more severe. The mother of Champion, Pam, told the AP, “I thought there would be more serious charges. I thought it should send a harsher message.” It seems the possibility of manslaughter and second-degree murder charges were shut down. But State Attorney Lawson Lamar said these charges weren’t sought because murder didn’t seem to be the motive, plus, there’s no evidence to support that thought:
“The testimony obtained to date does not support a charge of murder, in that it does not contain the elements of murder. We can prove participation in hazing and a death. We do not have a blow or a shot or a knife thrust that killed Mr. Champion. It is an aggregation of things which exactly fit the Florida statute as written by the Legislature.”
Because of the incident, the school has suspended the band, and Champion’s parents are even trying to sue the bus company for standing by and allowing the beating to happen–on the bus. But representatives of the company said the driver was not near the bus during the beating, and if he was, he wouldn’t have let it happen.
This is definitely a sad situation, and I hope the family can get some justice for Robert. Unfortunately, this has become far too common of a thing on college campuses. People hoping to get the shine of being a member of a prestigious band or having the chance to wear certain letters have been getting beat, run like mules, forced to drink to the point of alcohol poisoning and more for years now, and sometimes death is the result. Well a lot of the time actually. Look up names like Carson Starkey, Michael Starks, Kenitha Saafir and Kristin High, Vann L. Watts, Michael Davis, Joseph Green–just to name a few names. While this might change the way FAMU and their band happen to do things, what’s it really going to take for students in these organizations and groups elsewhere to get the memo? If the death of someone innocent isn’t the glaring sign these students need, then what’s really left to get them to wake up?
How can schools step in more to stop hazing? Is it possible?
More on Madame Noire!
- Your Ex Wants To Be “Friends,” And He’s in a New Relationship: Good or Bad Idea?
- Gucci This, Louis That: 7 Signs That You’re “Bougie”
- Blasphemy? Can Christians Get on the Pole?
- Where Are They Now? The Cast of “Family Matters”
- The Mane Balancing Act: Exercising And Your Hair
- Give Me My Money, Honey: Should Women be Forced to Pay Their Ex-Husbands Alimony?
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of What’s Love Got to Do With It”