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FAMU Seeks to Have Hazing Case Thrown Out

By: Associated Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Associated Press Release; Lanetra Bennett Email

Tallahassee, Florida- September 11, 2012

FAMU responds to a civil lawsuit filed against the university by the parents of hazing victim Robert Champion. The response: The suit should be thrown out.

Robert Champion's parents filed the civil suit because they say FAMU is responsible for their son's death. FAMU has filed a response saying that Champion contemplated whether to particpate in hazing acts referred to as "crossing over" and ultimately made the adult choice to go through with it.

Lillian Oglesby, FAMU graduate student: "Everyone has signed a form saying that we will not haze and that we know what hazing is."

Attorneys for FAMU say Robert Champion signed that same form...

"But, do people follow the rules?" asked Oglesby.

In a motion filed Monday to have the civil lawsuit against the university dropped, FAMU says Champion didn't follow the rules.

The court documents say, "Just a few months before this death, Mr. Champion acknowledged in writing that he fully understood the unlawfulness, physical brutality and health dangers of participating in hazing."

The filings point out that Champion was a "26-year-old grown adult" when the Marching 100 drum major participated in a hazing ritual with band mates that ultimately claimed his life last November 19th after the Florida Classic in Orlando.

"I don't feel that was all on him. But, I do feel as an adult, you should have been able to stabilize your own situation to inform someone that if you are uncomfortable with something you didn't want to do."

The filings say, "Mr. Champion decided that he was "sure he wanted to' engage in the hazing" and says he "allowed his adult body to be deprived of oxygen, punched, kicked and hit with objects."

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Tallahassee, Florida- September 11, 2012- 2:12 p.m.

The university is asking that the lawsuit from Robert Champion's family be dismissed on several grounds.
Among them, FAMU claims Robert Champion should have refused to participate in hazing events. The filings say Champion was a 26-year-old adult ... and points out that "just a few months before his death, Champion acknowledged in writing that he fully understood the unlawfulness, physical brutality and health dangers of participating in hazing." The filings go on to say, "Ultimately, Mr. Champion decided that he was "sure he wanted to" engage in the hazing in order to garner the respect of some band mates."

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Tallahassee, Florida- September 10, 2012 (AP)

Florida A&M University is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed against the university by the family of a drum major who died last November after a hazing ritual.

Monday's filing by the university said the lawsuit from the family of Robert Champion should be dismissed on several grounds. Among them, the university claims Champion should have refused to participate in hazing events. The university also says taxpayers should not be held liable for what it called Champion's imprudent and avoidable decision.

An attorney for the Champion family says it's committed to clearing Champion's name and holding FAMU accountable for allowing hazing to go on for years.

Champion died after being beaten by fellow band members aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after a football game.

AP-WF-09-11-12 0050GMT


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