'A Slap in the Face': Champion Family Responds to Latest FAMU Rebuttal

Tallahassee, Florida- September 13, 2012

The father of drum major Robert Champion says FAMU's response to their civil lawsuit is a slap in the face.
The Champions spoke out today saying it was wrong for the school to say Champion was responsible for his own hazing death.

Robert Champion's parents call FAMU's filings to dismiss their lawsuit, "30 pages of denial." The Champions say instead of saying that the 26-year-old drum major willingly participated in the hazing ritual that lead to his death last November the university should've just said, 'we dropped the ball' and move on.

Pam Champion, mother of Robert Champion: "As a mother, I have to wonder what kind of people are we entrusting our students to."

Pam Champion says she is disappointed about FAMU's response to her and husband's civil lawsuit against the university.

Robert Champion, father of Robert Champion, Jr., killed during a FAMU hazing incident: "To say that it wasn't their fault, is a slap in the face."

The Champions say FAMU is responsible for their son, Robert Champion, dying after a hazing ritual after a football game in Orlando last November.

Monday, the university filed a motion to dismiss saying, "Champion decided that he was 'sure he wanted to' engage in the hazing.

"They clearly didn't care about my son, who thought the world of this school, who would always promote it and talk it up. Robert did all the right things, the school didn't do him right."
FAMU's filings also say Champion, "allowed his adult body to be deprived of oxygen, punched, kicked and hit with objects."

Robert Champion: "No one asks to be killed. The school let us down. They let my son down, they let my family down. Now, they're letting the school down to say that didn't have any part in my son's death."

The Champions' attorney says their lawsuit is not about money. Rather, it's about the cause--the decades of hazing at FAMU that led to Champion's death and the decades after that they can change.

Attorney Christopher Chestnut says progress is subjective, pointing out a reported hazing incident on campus last week. However, he does say the Champions certainly encourage continued change.

FAMU is holding a town hall meeting on hazing next Thursday at 2pm at the Lawson Center.

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