Four students have been dismissed from Florida A&M University in connection with the hazing of 26-year-old marching band drum major Robert Champion. Hazing is a major problem at FAMU; 30 students were dismissed from the band earlier this year as a result of hazing incidents and in 2001, “student Marcus Parker was paddled so intensely, his kidneys shut down,” ABC reports. Parker was awarded 1.8 million dollars in damages.
As Strollerderby’s Stephanie Precourt noted on Tuesday, “Champion was likely forced to walk through a gauntlet of fists,” resulting in his untimely death. Champion’s parents intend to sue the university and “possibly the school’s recently fired band director Julian White,”according to ABC. White was fired shortly after Champion’s death, and the university cited “alleged misconduct and/or incompetence involving confirmed reports and allegations of hazing with the Department of Music and the Marching 100,” CNN reported today. White has hired an attorney and says he tried to stop hazing rituals within the band.
Watch ABC’s report for more, including a now gut-wrenching photo text that Champion sent his parents on the day he died: