Hazing lawsuit filed against FAMU

Nov 29, 2011, 12:00 by R.E. Christian

The family of a Florida A&M University marching band member who died following an alleged hazing incident will sue the university, their attorney said Monday.

Christopher Chestnut, an attorney representing the family of FAMU student Robert Champion said Monday in Atlanta that the lawsuit he intends to file will name the Tallahassee, Fla., school because "all the evidence points to the fact that hazing was a cause in the drum major's death and it happened on FAMU's watch." Chestnut didn't reveal what court he plans to lodge the suit.

Pamela Champion, Robert Champion's mother, said the lawsuit is meant to help other victims of hazing come forward and to compel the university to disband the practice, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

"It needs to stop and we want it to stop," she said. "No one wants to be standing in our shoes."

Robert Champion, 26, was pronounced dead at an Orlando hospital Nov. 18 after a suspected hazing attack aboard the FAMU marching band's charter bus. The alleged attack took place after the band performed at the Florida Classic football game.

Champion's mother said he loved the band and never reported anything negative.

FAMU President James Ammons fired longtime band director Julian White and said the school would organize an independent investigation into the hazing allegations after Champion's death.

No arrests have been made in Champion's death and his initial autopsy results were inconclusive.

"We want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else," Pamela Champion said.

Source: UPI