FAMU Students React to Charges Filed in Death of Robert Champion

By: Angelica Alvarez Email
By: Angelica Alvarez Email
The announcement of charges filed in the death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion made national headlines and sparked local conversation about the prevalence of hazing, not just on FAMU

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 file photo, Robert Champion, a drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band, performs during halftime of a football game in Orlando, Fla. At least five people will face criminal charges in the hazing death Champion aboard a band bus in Orlando last fall, authorities said Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III, File)

Tallahassee - May 3, 2012 - 12:21 am

Phil Johnson is a student at Florida A & M University. He says he understands why 13 people were charged in the death of Marching 100 drum major, Robert Champion, but says he can somewhat sympathize with them.

"We all know colleges across the country have a history of hazing," says Johnson.

Hazingstudy.org polled more than 11, 000 students at 53 universities and colleges nationwide. More than half say they've experienced hazing on some level.

"I heard that hazing is a felony in Florida, I just think that's ridiculous."
Johnson. Everybody makes the individual choice to keep joining these organizations even though there's hazing, " says Johnson.

It can be treated as a third degree felony, or in some cases a misdemeanor. Another study by the University of Connecticut shows since 1970 , there has been at least one hazing related death on a college campus every year.

But even with those numbers, students say there is a huge desire to be part of something bigger, like the Marching 100.

"They probably felt it was a tradition in hazing, that's something that goes on in many different organizations, they probably felt it was a right of passage," says Robert Cox, a student at FAMU.

A right of passage that investigators say, in this case, ended with the death of a drum major, and the lives of 13 now changed forever.

Some students say they're confident that the administration at FAMU is doing everything within its power to eliminate hazing at least among Rattlers.


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  • by Bill Proctor on May 3, 2012 at 03:27 PM
    Arrest as many of em as you all can, this would get the dirt off the sidewalks
  • by Wilhem Location: Tallahassee on May 3, 2012 at 03:24 PM
    Most of those commenting on here are clearly against black people and anything that they try to accomplish. I just wish that you would admit it publicly. Cowards.
    • reply
      by God Bless America on May 3, 2012 at 04:49 PM in reply to Wilhem
      Murder is not an accomplishment.
      • reply
        by Wilhem II on May 4, 2012 at 04:14 AM in reply to God Bless America
        Wilhem, a coward is one who will not accept personal responsibility for their actions. Know any demographic - generally speaking - that description fits? If you want respect for accomplishments, accomplish something of value. This personal responsibility thing would be a great place to start. Just remember that respect is earned, not gifted.
    • reply
      by NOMNOM on May 4, 2012 at 05:39 AM in reply to Wilhem
      Is being on the news everyday an accomplishment?
  • by Bill Proctology Location: Tall. on May 3, 2012 at 11:41 AM
    FAMU is nothing but a corrupt institution where the black elite go to wet their financial beaks and where black youths go to learn about how evil white people are. FAMU is going broke & is rife with corruption. My prediction is that it will be closed in 5 to 10 years. This economy has a long time before it recovers. Therefore the state will not lend a hand to bail FAMU out with our tax dollars. Because the state as well as the country is broke. Hey, good things never last forever. Good riddance.
    • reply
      by Wilhem on May 3, 2012 at 03:21 PM in reply to Bill Proctology
      HA,HA,HA, you don't know anything about the school. You are just trying to spark a debate. Your statement clearly shows that you don't want black people to succeed. smh
      • reply
        by Bill Proctology on May 4, 2012 at 05:23 AM in reply to Wilhem
        Do I not want murderers & greedy elite to succeed? That's right. The FAMU band gets paid millions of dollars a year to go perform for people all over the United States. Now they will not be performing for a while because of this. When they finally get to perform again, people will not be hiring the FAMU band because of this. Therefore, those millions of dollars that the school made because of the band will not be seeing any money. Got a clue now? Good. I will not be looking at this thread anymore. Take care.
  • by bsmith Location: quincy on May 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM
    If hazing is a right of passage, as is so casually stated, why haven't we all been hazed? If Robert had been beaten to death outside McDonalds, or at his home, of at some other location, would it be a more "valid" murder? What say you all?
  • by Anonymous on May 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM
    Famu students react to charges: We didn't do nuffins. They didn't do nuffins. Them poh-lice is after us again.
  • by Disgusted... on May 3, 2012 at 09:18 AM
    Is it just me or does everyone realize that a young man was murdered in a very violent and unforgiving manner. Why is everyone focused on hazing and FAMU? Hazing has been going on for years and FAMU is one of thousands of institutions of higher learning with hazing issues. The big picture is...a man was murdered, people are now charged and they need to be punished.
    • reply
      by Richard on May 3, 2012 at 10:13 AM in reply to Disgusted...
      Who cares......obviously not the system as no one got charged with murder...Yeah, who cares.
  • by Vic on May 3, 2012 at 08:52 AM
    The mentality at FAMU will never change therefore it is time to close the university down. White should not be reinstated because a death occurred under his watch.
  • by youngblood Location: florida on May 3, 2012 at 08:24 AM
    so, we do not know which student caused the most injury or the fatal blow. i do not understand how they can all be charged the same because some probably didnt do as much as others and why should the program be suspended just because of a few? it is sad and tragic for sure.
    • reply
      by M on May 3, 2012 at 09:11 AM in reply to youngblood
      In the reports I have read, there was no "fatal blow". He died as a result of the cumulative blows be received (hemorrhagic shock due to soft tissue hemorrhage). The massive amount of soft tissue damage caused by the numerous blows he received sent him into hemorrhagic shock which killed him. One person wasn't responsible for his death, many were.
  • by dog Location: gone on May 3, 2012 at 08:14 AM
    With the attitude of famu students Hazing will continue. Fire and Expel is the only answer. or NO orginizations allowed. I know I can't spell I went to an Intigrated school. :{
  • by FAMU Student Location: Tallahassee on May 3, 2012 at 08:06 AM
    I can not believe that student said that hazing being a felony was too much. What they are being charged with is NOTHING compared to what they should be charged with. 6 years is NOTHING, for killing someone. They knew hazing was illegal and they still took part in it. I think they should be charged with manslaughter, but I'm sure there is a good reason why they weren't.
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